International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Appeals Judges Maintain Restrictions on Ntaganda’s Communications

International Criminal Court (ICC) appeals judges have upheld a trial chamber’s decision to maintain restrictions that were imposed on Bosco Ntaganda’s communications in 2015 after the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) accused him of witness tampering.

The Appeals Chamber found that trial judges correctly balanced Ntaganda’s right to respect for his private and family life against the objectives of ensuring the safety of witnesses, preventing breaches of confidentiality, and ensuring the integrity of the trial proceedings.

They said a finding that there were reasonable grounds to believe Ntaganda personally engaged in witness interference was relevant to the imposition of these restrictions and for their continuation in order to reduce the risk of tampering to the proceedings.

On March 13, Ntaganda’s lawyers wrote to judges requesting … Continue Reading

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Les juges d’appel maintiennent les restrictions sur les communications de Ntaganda

Les juges d’appel de la Cour pénale internationale (CPI) ont confirmé la décision de la Chambre de première instance de maintenir les restrictions imposées sur les communications de Bosco Ntaganda en 2015 après que le Bureau du Procureur (BdP) l’ait accusé de subordination de témoins.

La Chambre d’appel a décidé que les juges de première instance avaient correctement concilié le droit de M. Ntaganda au respect de sa vie privée et familiale avec les objectifs de garantie de la sécurité du témoin, de prévention des violations de la confidentialité et de garantie de l’intégrité des procédures du procès.

Ils ont indiqué que la conclusion selon laquelle il existait des motifs raisonnables de croire que M. Ntaganda était personnellement engagé dans la subordination de témoin … Continue Reading

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Judges Decline Ntaganda’s Request for Judicial Site Visit to Congo

International Criminal Court (ICC) judges have rejected Bosco Ntaganda’s request for the court to make a judicial site visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo before the start of the defense case. According to the judges, Ntaganda’s defense failed to adequately specify the contested facts that the visit would seek to assess.

“The Chamber is of the view that the Defense has not identified with a sufficient level of specificity the concrete disputed facts or issues arising from the evidence at trial,” the judges ruled on February 24. “The Defense also has not clearly demonstrated how the site visit would be of benefit to the Chamber in assessing specific facts and issues.”

Judges considered that not all of the facts identified by … Continue Reading

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Five Victims Present Views to Judges in Ntaganda Trial

This week, five victims of crimes allegedly committed by Bosco Ntaganda and his militia presented their views and concerns to judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Appearing before judges via video link, the victims’ presentations were limited to discussing the harm they suffered.

Those who testified this week, namely Victims a/01635/13, a/30169/15, a/30286/15,  a/20018/14, and a/20126/14, are among the nine that judges have authorized  to present views and concerns or evidence in the trial. Victims a/30012/15, a/30365/15, and a/00256/13 shall give evidence between April 10 and April 13, 2017. Victim a/00256/13 is expected to testify via video link while the other two will appear at the seat of the court in The Hague.

Victim a/01243/13, who was also scheduled to present views this … Continue Reading

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Ntaganda Requests Judicial Site Visit to Congo

Bosco Ntaganda’s lawyers have requested that International Criminal Court (ICC) judges make a judicial site visit to locations in the Democratic Republic of Congo where Ntaganda and his troops allegedly committed crimes during 2002 and 2003. They asked that the visit takes place before the start of the defense case.

In a February 8, 2017 filing, lead defense counsel Stéphane Bourgon said such a timing for the visit would allow judges to gain knowledge of locations mentioned by prosecution witnesses “but which remain vague and unfamiliar given that no concrete evidence was adduced in respect of these locations.” Such knowledge is essential to judges’ understanding of the evidence to be presented by the defense, he added.

The defense request comes after a … Continue Reading

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Last Prosecution Witness Testifies in Ntaganda Trial

The prosecution has called its final witness in the International Criminal Court (ICC) trial of former Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda, which opened 17 months ago.

Today, the last prosecution witness testified about school records for some of the alleged former child soldiers who testified in the trial earlier. Désiré Dudunyabo Tandana, also known as Witness P551, is a former inspector of schools in the eastern Congo town of Bunia, and he was questioned about records that showed the age of former pupils in various schools.

Establishing the age of the students when they were enrolled in school is one of the means the prosecution has used to show that at the time these children purportedly served in Ntaganda’s Union of Congolese Patriots … Continue Reading

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More Evidence in Ntaganda Trial Heard in Closed Session

Hearings in Bosco Ntaganda’s International Criminal Court (ICC) trial have for the second half of this week been conducted in closed session. Witness P857 and Witness P116 have testified in proceedings closed to the public since Wednesday.

Witness P116 appeared before Trial Chamber VI via video link. In an oral ruling last Friday, Presiding Judge Robert Fremr said judges had granted a prosecution request to hear the evidence of the witness remotely because of an undisclosed medical condition. According to Judge Fremr, judges considered that Witness P116’s testimony had previously been rescheduled due to ill health, hence they granted leave for his remote appearance.

Article 69 of the Rome Statute permits the giving of evidence by means of video or audio technology … Continue Reading

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Witness: Both Sides in Congo Conflict Killed Civilians

A former United Nations (UN) investigator in the Democratic Republic of Congo has recalled how rival sides to an ethnic conflict in that country engaged in killings and pillaging during 2002 and 2003.

“Civilians were killed by both sides. Pillaging was carried out by pretty much everybody – combats and also the population which took advantage of the situation,” said Sonia Bakar, who lead the investigations unit of the human rights section of the former UN Mission in Congo (MONUC).

Testifying at the International Criminal Court (ICC) trial of former rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda, Bakar said that up to 250 individuals were killed in various attacks by the accused’s troops on Mongbwalu and Bunia in Ituri district. Her investigations also found evidence implicating … Continue Reading

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UN Investigators ‘Found Widespread Reports of Crimes by Ntaganda’s Forces’

A former United Nations official in the Democratic Republic of Congo has testified how investigations by her team found widespread reports of crimes committed by members of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), the militia in which war crimes accused Bosco Ntaganda was a senior commander.

Testifying at Ntaganda’s trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC), Sonia Bakar, who headed the investigations unit of the human rights section of the UN Mission in Congo (MONUC), recounted investigations into human rights violations in Ituri district during 2002-2003. MONUC was renamed in 2010 the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

The investigations were conducted as part of her unit’s role in monitoring the human rights situation in … Continue Reading

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Former Congolese Judge Testifies at Ntaganda’s ICC Trial

A former judge from the Ituri district of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has become one of the very few witnesses to testify publicly against ex-rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Jacques Kabasele, also known as Witness P043, took the stand today to testify under his real name and with his face showing in public broadcasts of his testimony.

Last Friday, judges declined to grant this witness the use of a pseudonym and distortion of his voice and image, noting that his prior involvement with the court was “publicly known” and that there had been no reports of risks to his life over his cooperation with the court’s prosecutors. Judges also determined that, given his current … Continue Reading

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