International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

As another trial restarts at the ICC……

As the defense case for Thomas Lubanga Dyilo is set to start this week, another trial focussed on the Democratic Republic of Congo will also pick up speed again at the International Criminal Court: the trial focussed on Germaine Katanga and Matthieu Ngudjolo. And their trial is being followed by a great site run by the Aegis Trust here: http://www.aegistrust.org/Katanga-Trial/. The Aegis Trust site makes readers feel like they are actually sitting in the courtroom watching the trial unfold before them. 

Just as background, here’s some basics on the Katanga and Ngudjolo trial:

On September 30, 2008, the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber I issued its decision on the confirmation of charges against Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui. Both are from the Lendu ethnic group, and both were charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes for their alleged role as co-perpetrators in the conflict in the DRC’s east.  The Chamber stated, “The purpose of the confirmation hearing is to ensure that no case proceeds to trial without sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that the person committed the crime or crimes with which he has been charged. This mechanism is designed to protect the rights of the Defence against wrongful and wholly unfounded charges.”

The Pre-Trial Chamber confirmed that there was enough evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui were criminally responsible for:

  1. Murder as a crime against humanity
  2. The war crime of wilful killing
  3. The war crime of using children to participate actively in hostilities
  4. Intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population of Bogoro village, constituting a war crime
  5. The war crime of pillaging
  6. The war crime of destruction of property
  7. Sexual slavery as a crime against humanity
  8. Sexual slavery as a war crime
  9. Rape as a crime against humanity
  10. Rape as a war crime

The Chamber declined to confirm the charges of inhuman treatment as a war crime, outrages upon personal dignity as a war crime, and other inhuman acts as a crime against humanity. 

The trial started in November 24, 2009 and continues on Monday and shares a courtroom with the Lubanga trial.  Check the Aegis site for up-to-date information each day.