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Evidence Phase of Trial Reaches End

The defense final witness concluded his testimony today, predominantly in private session. In redirect examination, defense counsel Marc Desalliers questioned the witness about what the prosecution had asked him during their December 10, 2010 meeting concerning Dunji Mandro Konke, aka Kordo, who the prosecution alleges recruited child soldiers in the witness’s neighborhood.

Thomas Lubanga Dyilo is on trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for conscripting, enlisting and using child soldiers in the military arm of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), which he headed.

Following the testimony, Judge Adrian Fulford noted that Witness 19 raised a number of issues at the close of his testimony. Of particular concern was his allegation that he was filmed during the time he was being taken to the plane before coming to The Hague. He suggests this demonstrates that the ICC is unable properly to protect him and ensure his dignity and self-respect are upheld. Judge Fulford ordered the Registry to provide a full report within three weeks.

The judge then all but declared the evidentiary phase of the trial of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo closed. There remains an outstanding issue regarding Witness 5, though the nature of the issue was not disclosed. It may require further testimony from both the prosecution and defense, which the Trial Chamber will decide within the next two days. If there will be no further testimony, the Chamber will issue a written decision closing the evidence.

Judge Fulford emphasized that whatever decision is made concerning Witness 5, the schedule for closing statements will not be changed. “The clock has started ticking and nothing save an earthquake will stop it,” he said.