The Thomas Lubanga war crimes trial will not sit for three days this week since there are no witnesses ready to testify. Earlier scheduled to be conducted for four days this week beginning today, the trial will now resume on Thursday.
Mr. Lubanga’s defense has already called all the witnesses it had lined up to testify to the alleged coaching of witnesses and fabrication of evidence by intermediaries of investigators of the Office of The Prosecutor (OTP) at the International Criminal Court.
The defense said last week that it would file an application for judges to consider throwing out the case on the grounds of abuse of process once court hears the testimony of two intermediaries and an expected two investigators, as well as the prosecution’s rebuttal witnesses. The intermediaries and investigators will testify at the behest of judges.
Presiding judge Adrian Fulford last Wednesday faulted the OTP for failing to arrange for intermediaries and investigators to testify this week.
Mr. Lubanga has been on trial at the ICC since January last year on charges of conscripting, recruiting, and using child soldiers in inter-ethnic conflict. The crimes were allegedly committed during 2002 and 2003, when Mr. Lubanga purportedly led the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) rebel group.
The prosecution was today expected to advise judges when it would be able to present the intermediaries and investigators, as well what rebuttal witnesses it intended to call. Last week, prosecuting attorney Manoj Sachdeva disclosed that they intended to call four prosecution witnesses as rebuttal witnesses. In addition, prosecutors were attempting to call two other individuals to rebut evidence advanced by the defense.
Mr. Sachdeva stated last week that it would be possible for some rebuttal witnesses to take the witness stand before intermediaries and investigators did.