The trial court has admitted into evidence the curriculum vitae of war crimes accused Thomas Lubanga, as well as a logbook containing a record of radio communications between the headquarters and the field staff of the rebel group Mr. Lubanga is said to have commanded.
However, the court presided over by Judge Adrian Fulford declined to accept into evidence some documents tendered by the prosecution because they did not fulfill the test for admission from the “bar table.”
The chamber has set out that the expression from the “bar table” describes the situation when documents or other material are submitted directly by counsel, rather than introduced via a witness as part of his or her testimony.
While the defense was not opposed to the application by the prosecution to admit Mr. Lubanga’s CV into evidence, it opposed the admission of the logbook and the documents. The documents comprised of one newspaper article and several reports authored by the UN relating to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo during 2002 and 2003.
The prosecution argued that Mr. Lubanga’s signed CV, which was seized by Congolese authorities during a raid in the Congolese town of Bunia, showed that he was the president of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) since 2000. Mr. Lubanga stands accused of recruiting and conscripting children under the age of 15 years and using them in armed conflict. The prosecution alleges that he was the president of the UPC and commander of the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (FPLC) militia.
According to the prosecution, the handwritten logbook they submitted showed the daily radio communication between UPC/FPLC units in the field and the main staff headquarters between November 19, 2002 and February 22, 2003.
The prosecution argued that the logbook “shows effective internal communication within the UPC/FPLC, knowledge on the part of the accused of the underlying facts constituting the charges and his ability to know about the crimes, through recorded messages which, on occasion, he received directly or by way of copies.”
The defense submitted that the logbook was irrelevant and that its authenticity had not been established. Besides, the defense argued that none of the messages in the logbook were related to the recruitment or use of children under the age of 15 by the FPLC or generally to the facts contained in the charges against Mr. Lubanga.
Mr. Lubanga’s defense has contended that he was only a political leader with no control over the military affairs of the militia. Accordingly, the defense has stated that Mr. Lubanga was not responsible for the recruitment and use of child soldiers, although it has acknowledged that the UPC and FPLC used child fighters.
Mr. Lubanga has been on trial since January 2009. His trial will resume on Monday next week.