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Lubanga Defense To Question OTP’s Rebuttal Witnesses About Abuse Of Process

Thomas Lubanga’s defense has said it will question the prosecution’s rebuttal witnesses about the responsibility of the Office of The Prosecutor (OTP) in the alleged corruption of evidence in the war crimes trial.

Defense attorney Jean-Marie Biju-Duval on Thursday said that besides the rebuttal witnesses, the defense was also planning to question investigators from the OTP, as well as their intermediaries, on how testimony was corrupted, and the people who played a role in this purported forgery. The defense would ask these witnesses what the OTP did as this alleged corruption of evidence was taking place, he said.

Mr. Biju-Duval said: “Generally speaking, the responsibility of the OTP in relation to its own investigations, the way they were conducted and their responsibility for the situation that we see today” would be among the issues the defense would question the witnesses about.

“The second vital issue will be the responsibility of the OTP for this process of corruption. At what level did the OTP take part in the process?” Mr. Biju-Duval said. “The second aspect and most important is: what is the responsibility of the OTP for this possibility of hindering or providing a remedy to this process of corruption.”

The defense mentioned the areas they would question the upcoming witnesses on as the prosecution presented its list of rebuttal witnesses and the intended scope of their testimonies.

From next week, three intermediaries and three representatives of the OTP – including a field liaison coordinator – will testify at the trial. Judges ordered the appearance of these individuals after various defense witnesses testified that some intermediaries bribed and coached witnesses, and engaged in various other acts of forging evidence.

The defense has said that intermediaries coached witnesses and concocted evidence implicating Mr. Lubanga, who is accused of conscripting, recruiting, and using child soldiers during 2002 and 2003. According to prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC), Mr. Lubanga was the leader of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), a group that used child soldiers in inter-ethnic fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri province.

Meanwhile, prosecutors will call at least four rebuttal witnesses ahead of a defense application for judges to dismiss the charges against Mr. Lubanga on grounds of abuse of process.

Legal representatives of victims have said that they will request to question at least one of the OTP representatives.

On Monday, the OTP field liaison coordinator will give evidence.