International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

ICC Issues Order for Reparations to Victims of Crimes Committed by Former Congolese Militia Leader

In a hearing this morning, International Criminal Court (ICC) judges read a decision awarding 297 victims of crimes committed by former Congolese militia leader Germain Katanga a symbolic compensation of USD 250 per victim. Victims were also awarded collective reparations in the form of support for housing, support for income-generating activities, education aid, and psychological support. In reaching their decision, judges took into account the needs of all victims and consultations undertaken with them and sought to ensure their safety, physical, and psychological well‑being and privacy.

This is significant because it is only the second time in the court’s history that an award for reparations has been ordered, and it is the first time that the court has awarded reparations to … Continue Reading

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Réactions des victimes congolaises dans la perspective des réparations dans l’affaire Lubanga

Cet article a été préparé par notre partenaire Radio Canal Révélation, une station radio basée à Bunia, en République démocratique du Congo (RDC), dans le cadre d’un projet de radio interactive pour la justice et la paix qui favorise la mise en débat des questions touchant à la justice en RDC.

Les victimes des crimes commis par Thomas Lubanga dans un groupement de la communauté Lendu dans la Province de l’Ituri, ont accueilli favorablement la décision du Fonds au Profit des Victimes (Fonds) affectant un million d’euros aux réparations collectives en République démocratique du Congo.

« Nous acceptons que le Fonds nous construise des stades, des centres de santé, réhabilite nos routes… ceci va nous faire oublier les crimes du passé… [M]algré … Continue Reading

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ICC Judges Hand Bemba €300,000 Fine, Defense Lawyers Get Suspended Sentences

Jean-Pierre Bemba has been handed the heaviest penalty among the five individuals sentenced today for tampering with witnesses at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Judges also issued suspended sentences for Bemba’s two former lawyers and also imposed monetary penalties on two of those convicted.

The former vice president of Congo was sentenced to one-year in prison and fined €300,000, which he has to pay within three months. His former lead defense counsel, Aimé Kilolo Musamba, was fined €30,000, also payable in three months, and handed a prison sentence of two-and-a-half years, suspended over three years. The two fines shall ultimately be transferred to the Trust Fund for Victims.

Judges ruled that the time Bemba’s four associates spent in pre-trial detention should be … Continue Reading

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Witness Describes Poor Living Conditions in the LRA and IDP Camps

A prosecution witness told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that most fighters of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) slept in the open on the ground because the group had a limited number of tents and beds, which were used by the commanders.

Witness P-379 said on Tuesday LRA commanders were also given priority when it came to food. He said if food was scarce then the choice bits, such as beans or chicken or goat meat, were served to the commanders.

The witness testified about his experience in the Oka battalion of the LRA, which he said was led by Dominic Ongwen at the time he was a member. Ongwen is on trial at the ICC on 70 counts of war crimes … Continue Reading

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Sentencing in ICC’s First Witness Tampering Trial Due Tomorrow

Tomorrow, judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) will deliver the sentences of five individuals convicted of tampering with defense witnesses who testified in the trial of Congolese politician Jean-Pierre Bemba.

The five, who include Bemba, were convicted last October on various charges in the first trial under Article 70 of the court’s Rome Statute, which relates to offenses against the administration of justice. In the conviction decision, judges found that the five intentionally corruptly influenced 14 defense witnesses and presented their false testimonial evidence to the court.

Delivery of the decision on sentencing is scheduled for 11:00 local time in The Hague in open court. Judges ordered all the accused to be present in the courtroom. Bemba’s four associates have been on conditional … Continue Reading

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Combative Witness Raises Questions about Witness Preparation at the ICC

Earlier this month a prosecution witness testifying in the trial of Dominic Ongwen at the International Criminal Court (ICC) made headlines when he was cautioned by the judges for his behavior on the witness stand. As a member of the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF), Witness P-003 intercepted radio communications between members of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) during the conflict in northern Uganda, and he was called to The Hague testify about those communications.

However, upon cross-examination Ongwen’s lead defense lawyer, Krispus Ayena Odongo, in an effort to impugn the witness’s credibility, presented a letter in court that alleged the witness acted inappropriately during intercept operations and drew a gun on an intelligence officer working from the same compound. The … Continue Reading

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Witness Describes Being Attacked by His Former LRA Battalion While in Pajule IDP Camp

A former fighter with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) told the International Criminal Court (ICC) he was the victim of an LRA attack on a camp for internally displaced people (IDP) where he was living just months after escaping from the group.

Witness P-379 narrated to the court on Monday how he and other internally displaced people were attacked in October 2003 by the Oka battalion of the LRA, the same battalion he had been a member of and escaped from in August 2003.

The attack on Pajule the witness testified about forms part of the charges against Dominic Ongwen at the ICC. Ongwen has also been charged for his alleged role in attacks on three other IDP camps: Odek, Abok, and … Continue Reading

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Appeals Judges Maintain Restrictions on Ntaganda’s Communications

International Criminal Court (ICC) appeals judges have upheld a trial chamber’s decision to maintain restrictions that were imposed on Bosco Ntaganda’s communications in 2015 after the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) accused him of witness tampering.

The Appeals Chamber found that trial judges correctly balanced Ntaganda’s right to respect for his private and family life against the objectives of ensuring the safety of witnesses, preventing breaches of confidentiality, and ensuring the integrity of the trial proceedings.

They said a finding that there were reasonable grounds to believe Ntaganda personally engaged in witness interference was relevant to the imposition of these restrictions and for their continuation in order to reduce the risk of tampering to the proceedings.

On March 13, Ntaganda’s lawyers wrote to judges requesting … Continue Reading

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Les juges d’appel maintiennent les restrictions sur les communications de Ntaganda

Les juges d’appel de la Cour pénale internationale (CPI) ont confirmé la décision de la Chambre de première instance de maintenir les restrictions imposées sur les communications de Bosco Ntaganda en 2015 après que le Bureau du Procureur (BdP) l’ait accusé de subordination de témoins.

La Chambre d’appel a décidé que les juges de première instance avaient correctement concilié le droit de M. Ntaganda au respect de sa vie privée et familiale avec les objectifs de garantie de la sécurité du témoin, de prévention des violations de la confidentialité et de garantie de l’intégrité des procédures du procès.

Ils ont indiqué que la conclusion selon laquelle il existait des motifs raisonnables de croire que M. Ntaganda était personnellement engagé dans la subordination de témoin … Continue Reading

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Witness Testifies About Attacks Ongwen Led

A former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) fighter told the International Criminal Court (ICC) about his abduction by the battalion led by Dominic Ongwen, who is on trial at the court. He also discussed attacks on a barrack and town center that were directed by Ongwen.

Witness P-379, who began testifying on Friday, is doing so under in-court protective measures. One measure taken is that his face is distorted in broadcasts to the public either on the screens in the public gallery or the court’s live stream of the proceedings. He is also being identified by pseudonym and any information that may identify him during his testimony is given in private session.

Presiding Judge Bertram Schmitt said that Witness P-379 has also been granted … Continue Reading

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