An investigator from the Office of The Prosecutor (OTP), who is expected to testify next week, has asked for the transcript of the testimony given in court this week by an intermediary who helped contact some of the former child soldiers who became prosecution witnesses in the Lubanga trial.
At the same time, the defense team for Germain Katanga, another Congolese national on trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC), has also requested Lubanga trial judges for a copy of the in-court testimony of ‘intermediary 316’. Judges today approved the release of the transcript to both Mr. Katanga’s defense and the investigator whose court pseudonym is ‘witness 582’.
There are at least four witnesses common to the trials of Mr. Lubanga and Mr. Katanga. Last May, Lubanga judges ruled that defense attorneys in the two trials were free to discuss the testimony of the four witnesses common to the trials.
Mr. Katanga, a former Congolese militia leader, is jointly charged with Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, also a Congolese national, with three crimes against humanity and seven war crimes. Prosecutors at the ICC allege that the two men led militia groups that used child soldiers and committed atrocities against members of the Hema ethnic group in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), which Mr. Lubanga is alleged to have led, was predominantly made up of the Hema and fought against groups that ICC prosecutors claim were led by Mr. Katanga and Mr. Ngudjolo.
Earlier this week, the investigator requested to be allowed to look at the evidence of ‘intermediary 321’ who completed his testimony today. Judges initially stated that they had assured the intermediaries that their evidence would not get out of the walls of the courtroom and accordingly asked the OTP to seek the consent of the intermediaries before their evidence was disclosed.
Prosecutors have said that the investigator was being called to speak on his specific dealings with ‘intermediary 316’ and to give evidence on general matters related to the use and management of intermediaries.
Presiding Judge Adrian Fulford today stated that ‘witness 582’ would be giving his testimony by way of a deposition. “The chamber has approved a procedure whereby the evidence of witness 582 will be received by way of deposition,” said the judge.
Judges today also granted two legal representatives of victims participating in the trial permission to question the investigator.
The investigator and the intermediaries were called to testify following allegations that intermediaries coached and bribed witnesses to fabricate evidence.
The trial resumes on Tuesday with the testimony of the investigator.