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Ntaganda Trial: Witness Testimony Continues in Closed Session

Hearings in the trial of Bosco Ntaganda at the International Criminal Court (ICC) today continued in closed session, with the defense cross-examining Witness P550.

When the witness first took the stand on Tuesday, February 23, Presiding Judge Robert Fremr stated that there was a very high likelihood that his testimony would be conducted in private session. The prosecution went ahead to question the witness in sessions closed to the public.

Judges granted the witness protective measures, including the use of a pseudonym, and his face and voice were distorted in public rebroadcasts of his appearance before the chamber. A legal adviser was appointed for the witness and is present in court during the proceedings.

Witness P550 is the 14th individual called by prosecutors to testify against Ntaganda. The former deputy chief of staff of the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (FPLC) is charged with murder, rape, sexual slavery, pillaging, and using child soldiers, among other crimes. The alleged crimes were committed against the non-Hema civilian population of Congo’s Ituri province during ethnic conflict in 2002–2003. Ntaganda has pleaded not guilty in the trial that commenced last September.

The defense is scheduled to continue its cross-examination of Witness P550 on Monday, February 29.