International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

‘The Minister’s code was Atlas’

Former Ivorian police chief Brédou M’Bia, who is present in The Hague to testify in the Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé trial, continued giving evidence on Thursday, February 16.

Brédou M’Bia’s testimony, which started on Wednesday with a 24 hours’ delay following debates related to his protection, resumed on February 16 at the International Criminal Court (ICC). A technical problem first interrupted the barely open audience and irritated Presiding Judge Cuno Tarfusser, “My dream of a trouble-free day will not come true today.”

Eric MacDonald, lead prosecutor in the case, then resumed his interrogation with the exploration of the communication systems used within the state forces and, more specifically, within the police.

The complex network of police communications

MacDonald sought to explain the … Continue Reading

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Last Prosecution Witness Testifies in Ntaganda Trial

The prosecution has called its final witness in the International Criminal Court (ICC) trial of former Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda, which opened 17 months ago.

Today, the last prosecution witness testified about school records for some of the alleged former child soldiers who testified in the trial earlier. Désiré Dudunyabo Tandana, also known as Witness P551, is a former inspector of schools in the eastern Congo town of Bunia, and he was questioned about records that showed the age of former pupils in various schools.

Establishing the age of the students when they were enrolled in school is one of the means the prosecution has used to show that at the time these children purportedly served in Ntaganda’s Union of Congolese Patriots … Continue Reading

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Le dernier témoin à charge témoigne au procès Ntaganda

L’accusation a appelé son dernier témoin au procès de l’ancien chef rebelle congolais Bosco Ntaganda qui s’est ouvert il y 17 mois devant la Cour pénale internationale (CPI).

Aujourd’hui, le dernier témoin à charge a apporté une déposition sur les dossiers scolaires des anciens enfants soldats présumés qui ont témoigné antérieurement au procès. Désiré Dudunyabo Tandana, dénommé également témoin P551, est un ancien inspecteur des écoles de la ville de Bunia, située dans l’est du Congo, et a été interrogé sur les dossiers indiquant l’âge des anciens élèves de différentes écoles.

Déterminer l’âge des écoliers au moment de leur inscription dans les écoles est un des moyens que l’accusation a utilisé pour démontrer qu’à l’époque où les enfants auraient servi au sein de l’Union … Continue Reading

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How the Trust Fund for Victims Will Spend €1 Million on Collective Reparations in Congo

The Trust Fund for Victims (TFV or Fund) has described how it will use the €1 million (US$1.06 million) it has earmarked for collective reparations to victims of Thomas Lubanga’s crimes in Ituri district in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Fund, however, acknowledges that the available finances are insufficient to meet the reparations needs in the three-year program.

Lubanga, former leader of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) militia group, was convicted in 2012 over the recruitment, conscription, and use of children under 15 years in armed conflict. In addition to the 14-year jail sentence, Lubanga has to make reparations to victims of his crimes. However, the TVF is financing the reparations because the court found Lubanga indigent. Nonetheless, he … Continue Reading

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No Protective Measures for Witness P-46 at the Gbagbo and Blé Goudé Trial

Called to the witness stand of the Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé trial on Tuesday, February 14, Witness P-46 did not testify. The debate between the various parties concerning the modalities of the witness’s protection could not be settled and his appearance was postponed.

The witness who was due to appear before the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday, February 14, seemed to be an important witness. With “391 pages” of testimony and 12 hours of hearing scheduled, the file looked voluminous and dense. On Monday, Emmanuel Altit, Laurent Gbagbo’s lawyer, had also asked for a further delay to study this file, with the possibility that the start of the interrogation could be postponed to Wednesday, to which the Chamber … Continue Reading

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The Police Chief Who Knew Very Little

The questioning of Witness P-560, currently working at the Ivorian police headquarters, continued on Monday, February 13, at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The prosecution and the defense conducted their interrogation quicker than expected, and his testimony was completed by midday.

Adamo Bonaventure Guillaume Séverin, a witness currently serving in the Directorate-General of the Ivorian Police, received a special protection measure during his testimony. He was accompanied by a lawyer to avoid self-incrimination. After the prosecution’s interrogation by prosecution lawyer Lucio Garcia last Friday, he was questioned on Monday by the defense of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé.

From September 17, 2010 to March 9, 2011, Witness P-560, the head of the Adjamé district in the north of Abidjan, worked in … Continue Reading

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A Police Officer in the Gbagbo Trial

Working in the General Directorate of the National Police in Abidjan, Adamo Bonaventure Guillaume Séverin is the 32nd witness to be heard in the trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé. The witness was the head of the Adjamé district during the post-electoral violence.

“You can go home, Sir,” Presiding Judge Cuno Tarfusser told Witness P-45, a former radio operator in the army, on Thursday, closing two days of hearing, charged with electricity and interspersed with private sessions.

The hearing of this Friday, February 10, opened with Witness P-560, who also came to testify without a pseudonym. The day was not without tension, with several altercations between the parties about interrogation methods. The witness had to go out several times to … Continue Reading

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No Answers on Whether Ríos Montt Will Go to Trial for Dos Erres Massacre

While a court has rejected efforts to dismiss charges against former dictator José Efraín Ríos Montt in relation to the 1982 Dos Erres massacre, it has yet to determine whether the case will be heard using the special procedures outlined in Guatemalan law for individuals like Ríos Montt, who suffer mental incompetence, as solicited by the Attorney General’s Office. The court was scheduled to make this determination in a hearing yesterday but failed to do so.

Judge Claudette Domínguez of High Risk Court A is overseeing the Dos Erres case, which was reactivated when Santos López Alonzo, a former Kaibil accused of direct participation in the massacre, was deported from the United States in August 2016. Last November, Ríos Montt’s lawyers … Continue Reading

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More Evidence in Ntaganda Trial Heard in Closed Session

Hearings in Bosco Ntaganda’s International Criminal Court (ICC) trial have for the second half of this week been conducted in closed session. Witness P857 and Witness P116 have testified in proceedings closed to the public since Wednesday.

Witness P116 appeared before Trial Chamber VI via video link. In an oral ruling last Friday, Presiding Judge Robert Fremr said judges had granted a prosecution request to hear the evidence of the witness remotely because of an undisclosed medical condition. According to Judge Fremr, judges considered that Witness P116’s testimony had previously been rescheduled due to ill health, hence they granted leave for his remote appearance.

Article 69 of the Rome Statute permits the giving of evidence by means of video or audio technology … Continue Reading

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Les audiences du procès Ntaganda se poursuivent à huis clos

Les audiences du procès de Bosco Ntaganda qui se tient devant la Cour pénale internationale (CPI) ont été menées, pour la seconde partie de cette semaine, à huis clos. Le témoin P857 et le témoin P116 ont témoigné depuis mercredi lors de séances non publiques.

Le témoin P116 a comparu devant la Chambre de première instance VI via un lien vidéo. Dans une décision orale rendue vendredi dernier, le juge président Robert Fremr a déclaré que les juges avaient accédé à une demande de l’accusation d’entendre le témoin à distance en raison d’une maladie non divulguée. Selon le juge Femr, les juges ont pris en compte le fait que la déposition du témoin P116 avait été précédemment reporté en raison de son mauvais état de … Continue Reading

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