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Lubanga Appeals Hearing Postponed

International Criminal Court (ICC) judges have postponed the testimony of two witnesses who were scheduled to give evidence in support of Thomas Lubanga’s appeal against his conviction and 14-year prison sentence.

‘Witness D-0040’ and ‘Witness D-0041’ were expected to testify on April 14 and 15 via video link from an undisclosed location. However, the court’s registry informed judges that it was not possible to organize the logistics necessary for the witnesses to testify on these dates.

On March 14, 2012, Mr. Lubanga was found guilty as a co-perpetrator of recruiting, conscripting, and using child soldiers in the armed wing of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC). The judges found that these children were actively used in an armed conflict during 2002 and 2003 in the Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mr. Lubanga has appealed his conviction and the 14-year jail sentence delivered in July 2012. Judges granted the Congolese militia leader permission to call two witnesses as part of his bid to have his conviction overturned.

At the hearing of testimony by the two witnesses, parties and participants in the trial were also expected to make submissions and observations on matters related to the appeals.

The prosecution has filed its own appeal in which it asks judges to hand Mr. Lubanga a longer prison sentence. Also pending before appeals judges is an appeal on the decision on procedures to govern reparations to be made to victims participating in the trial.

In the April 10, 2014 order postponing the hearings, Presiding Judge Erkki Kourula said the chamber would issue a new date for the testimony of the two witnesses.