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Ngudjolo Released from Dutch Immigration Detention

The Registry of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has provided an update on the situation regarding Mathiu Ngudjolo’s detention by Dutch immigration officials.

On May 3, 2013, the Rechtbank Den Haag (as a Court of Appeal sitting in Amsterdam) ordered Ngudjolo to be released from the immigration detention center at Schiphol Airport. The Dutch court reasoned that detention of an immigrant while an asylum procedure is ongoing “cannot be continuous” given that there has not been a showing of any exceptions to the applicable law and procedures that normally apply.

After his release from the detention center, the Dutch provided Ngudjolo a document (the Registry did not say which kind) saying that he can legally reside on the territory of the Netherlands. Ngudjolo can move freely within the Netherlands. He can therefore attend his appeals hearings at the ICC and also means he can meet with his defense team in order to prepare for the appeal. According to the Registry, the Dutch authorities have said they will soon administer Ngudjolo a “W-document,” which is a temporary identification card stating that his asylum application is ongoing, but he is lawfully entitled to be in the Netherlands.

It appears from the Registry notice that Ngudjolo may be relocated due to security and protection concerns. Although portions of the notice were redacted, the Registry did say that “as soon as an appropriate place of relocation has been identified, all necessary measures will be taken in order to ensure M. Ngudjolo’s departure at the earliest convenience.” This indicates that he will soon be relocated. The Registry also noted that lifting the travel ban currently imposed on Ngudjolo can only be completed once his final destination is known.

The Registry indicated that since he has been released from the Dutch detention center he has been the responsibility of the ICC Registry. If Ngudjolo is relocated soon, the Registry said it will facilitate his appearance—either in person or by video-link—at any hearings or status conferences before the ICC. The Registry also said it was in constant contact with his defense team to make sure he remains able to attend court hearings.