Judges in the trial of alleged former Congolese rebel leader Thomas Lubanga have today ordered prosecutors to reveal to the defense the identity of one of their intermediaries who has been accused of coaching witnesses.
Judge Adrian Fulford said the judges had decided that the defense was entitled to know the identity of some of the intermediaries who had assisted witnesses in the first case to be tried at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Both the prosecution and the defense have in recent weeks made submissions on the issue of lifting the anonymity of the intermediaries. At the start of today’s proceedings, the judge said the reasons for this decision would be communicated to the parties very shortly.
With regard to one particular intermediary, Judge Fulford ordered that his identity be disclosed to the defense forthwith “because of the evidence we have heard since the beginning of January” concerning the role he played.
Several defense witnesses have testified that intermediaries of the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor bribed witnesses to concoct evidence that incriminates Mr. Lubanga, who is accused of using child soldiers in inter-ethnic conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo during 2002 and 2003.
Today’s ruling came just before the defense called their tenth witnesses – a woman who gave all her evidence in closed session and testified with face and voice distortion to protect her identity.
Before the witness was introduced, Judge Fulford asked lead defense counsel, Catherine Mabille, whether she was ready to start on her next witness – who was already at the court – “knowing that before her evidence finally is completely you will obviously have wanted to receive this information [on the identity of the intermediary].”
Mabille said she was ready to call the witness. When the witness was called, she only took the oath and then the rest of the day’s proceedings were conducted in closed session.
The prosecution Olivia Struyven said there would be a need for protection measures to be instituted for the intermediary once his name was disclosed to the defense. Discussions would be held with the Victims and Witnesses Unit to work out these measures, she said.
Today judges also made rulings related to disclosure to the defense of certain information related to an unnamed female victim participant in the trial, who was said to be a friend of the current defense witness. This information includes the name of the victim’s mother and father, the name of the organization which helped former girl-child soldiers, the birth certificate of the victim, and the name of one of the individuals with whom the victim was kidnapped.