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Tenth Defense Witness Testifies Behind Closed Doors

The tenth witness called by the defense of war crimes accused Thomas Lubanga today completed giving her testimony – all of it in camera.

This witness started testifying yesterday, but defense lawyers indicated that they would need to get from prosecutors the name of an intermediary of the Office of The Prosecutor (OTP) before they completed examining her.

Judges on Monday ordered prosecutors to reveal to the defense the identity of this intermediary who has been accused by defense witnesses of bribing various people in the Congolese town of Bunia to concoct testimony implicating Mr. Lubanga.

Judge Adrian Fulford ruled that the identity of this particular intermediary should be disclosed to the defense forthwith because of the evidence court had heard since the start of the defense case concerning the role he allegedly played. According to Mr. Lubanga’s defense, intermediaries coached witnesses and fabricated evidence against the former Congolese leader who faces the war crimes of using child soldiers in armed conflict.

Prosecutors said on Monday that they needed to work with the Victims and Witnesses Unit (VWU) to institute protective measures for the intermediary before disclosing his name. It appears the name of the intermediary has been disclosed, as the defense has completed questioning their tenth witness whose testimony they indicated would in part touch on this intermediary.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) charges that Mr. Lubanga was the leader of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), whose militia group used child soldiers in Ituri province, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, during 2002 and 2003.

The prosecution has dismissed the allegations by the defense that intermediaries of the ICC’s prosecution investigators corrupted evidence.

Tomorrow, ‘Witness 15’, a former prosecution witness who testified briefly last June and stated in court that he had lied to prosecutors is expected to give fresh testimony. He said then an intermediary had made him tell lies to prosecution investigators.

The prosecution has said it will challenge the veracity of the new information which ‘Witness 15’ has provided. The defense planned to cross-examine him on the brief testimony he gave last year as a prosecution witness and the additional information which he provided after he declared that he had lied to prosecutors.