An intermediary of prosecution investigators was today questioned by defense lawyers representing war crimes accused Thomas Lubanga about the various payments he received from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Defense lawyer Marc Desalliers asked ‘intermediary 316’, who was continuing his testimony that started on Monday, to explain various payment vouchers that were presented in court.
He asked the intermediary whether he received a salary before November 2005, when he got a contract from the court. The intermediary responded that he was only reimbursed for his expenses while doing work for investigators of the Office of The Prosecutor (OTP).
“During the informal stage of your dealings with the OTP between the month of April 2005 and beginning of your contract in November 2005, did you receive any salary?” Mr. Desalliers asked again.
“I would say no, there was no salary,” the witness replied. “There was reimbursement for expenses incurred. However, as things developed the OTP paid for my needs in terms of salary because I had to give enough time to working in the field.”
He said before he got a contract with the ICC’s prosecution office, his payment was based on the number of days he worked.
The intermediary clarified that although there were payment vouchers before he got the contract, which indicated that he had a salary, in fact he only got a daily subsistence allowance for the days he worked.
Mr. Desalliers then showed the intermediary a September 25, 2005 receipt for reimbursement of 880 USD in subsistence allowance and an 11 day salary of 490 USD. According to the defense attorney, this receipt showed that the intermediary was receiving a salary besides the subsistence allowances.
In response, the intermediary responded that this was to cater for his expenses when he traveled for duty to neighboring Uganda. “I had to pay for hotel, meals, and other costs,” stated the intermediary, reiterating that he was not paid a salary at the time.
Testifying with voice and face distortion, the intermediary gave most of his evidence in closed session. Presiding Judge Adrian Fulford said it was necessary for the intermediary to give most of his testimony in closed session because his evidence would have revealed his identity. “A transcript of this mornings hearing with suitable reductions will be published in due course,” said the judge.
A prosecution witness told court that this intermediary gave him money and then coached him to lie in his testimony that he had been a child soldier with the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), the group that prosecutors allege was led by Mr. Lubanga.
The prosecution witness also claimed the intermediary told him to falsely claim to prosecution investigators that he knew children who were conscripted into the UPC, that he saw trainees get killed by firing squad after failing to obey commanders’ orders, and that some girl child soldiers got pregnant while they were in the UPC.
In addition, the witness told the trial in March this year that due to pressure from the intermediary, he lied to investigators in 2005 that he had seen commanders of the UPC militia at Mr. Lubanga’s offices. Since he started giving evidence on Monday, the intermediary has denied all these allegations, stressing that he neither gave money nor coached any witness.
Mr. Lubanga stands accused of conscripting, enlisting, and using children in armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has denied the charges and instead claimed that intermediaries bribed and coached all children who told court that they had served as soldiers in the UPC.
Mr. Lubanga’s defense has also claimed that the parents of these children were bribed into providing incriminating evidence against the accused. The defense has stated that it will file an application next month for judges to dismiss the case because of this alleged corruption of evidence.
Tomorrow morning the defense will continue cross-examining ‘intermediary 316.’
In which direction is this trial moving, and what can be foretasted about its outcome?
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