International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Ntaganda to Testify For Weeks in His Own Defense

Bosco Ntaganda will take the witness stand next month to testify in his own defense at his International Criminal Court (ICC) trial. According to his lawyers, the former Congolese rebel leader’s testimony could last for up to six weeks.

In an interview today with the International Justice Monitor, defense lawyer Stéphane Bourgon explained why Ntaganda has decided to take the witness stand—unlike most individuals who have previously been tried at the ICC.

“Mr. Ntaganda wants to establish, himself, that he’s not the person portrayed in the media and elsewhere. He wants to establish who he is, what he did, and why he did what he did,” said Bourgon. He added that Ntaganda surrendered voluntarily to the court and was willing to face … Continue Reading

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No Stay of Proceedings in Ntaganda Trial

International Criminal Court (ICC) judges have rejected a request by Bosco Ntaganda to stay proceedings in his trial over allegations that he could no longer be assured of a fair trial because prosecutors wrongly accessed critical defense information. In an April 28 ruling, judges considered that it was possible to continue conducting a fair trial for the former Congolese rebel leader.

Last March, Stéphane Bourgon, who heads Ntaganda’s defense team, argued that a stay of proceedings was the only adequate remedy after the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) acquired thousands of recordings of the accused’s conversations, including those on defense strategy and his personal knowledge of the case. The records were acquired while the OTP investigated Ntaganda for witness tampering under … Continue Reading

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Ntaganda Plans to Call More Than 100 Witnesses

Bosco Ntaganda’s lawyers have disclosed that they intend to call 111 witnesses to testify for the former Congolese rebel commander who is on trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Ntaganda faces 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
 
At a status conference held today, defense lawyer Stéphane Bourgon stated that the defense remained intent on calling the record number of witnesses on the list that it provided to judges and the prosecution. However, defense lawyers have not completed taking statements from all their prospective witnesses.
 
The prosecution in the Ntaganda trial called 71 witnesses, who testified between September 2015 and February 2017. Many of these witnesses appeared before court only briefly and consented to their prior recorded testimony – … Continue Reading

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Ntaganda to File ‘No Case to Answer’ Motion at ICC

Lawyers for Bosco Ntaganda are planning to file a no case to answer motion, in which they will request International Criminal Court (ICC) judges to acquit the former Congolese rebel commander without him presenting a defense case.

The indication of the expected filing emerged in an April 13 submission by defense lawyers asking judges to grant them an extension to the deadline for filing the request. The extension was necessary because the court’s case management system was down for days as new software was being installed. This had made it impossible for defense lawyers to access the court record and evidence submitted in the case.

Ntaganda has been on trial in The Hague since September 2015, and the prosecution last month closed its … Continue Reading

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Defense Lawyer Challenges Victim’s Account of Crimes Implicating Ntaganda

Defense lawyer Stéphane Bourgon has dismissed the evidence of a witness called by legal representatives of victims and accused him of making up stories against Congolese ex-militia leader Bosco Ntaganda at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The lawyer’s assertions were made on Wednesday, in response to Witness V3’s testimony alleging that at the end of 2002, Ntaganda and his Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) superior Floribert Kisembo visited his father’s home on three occasions to discuss alliance with the militia group. Upon refusal, Ntaganda purportedly led a group of soldiers who arrested and killed the witness’s father.

“On [the] basis of testimony heard and on the basis of information we obtained during our investigations, in addition to information coming from chief of … Continue Reading

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Witness: Ntaganda’s Fighters Raped Me, Killed my Husband

On Tuesday, a Congolese woman, who was raped by Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) militiamen and whose husband was killed by other militiamen, recounted her ordeal to International Criminal Court (ICC) judges trying Bosc0 Ntaganda.

Testifying under the pseudonym Witness V2, she testified how she was raped while fleeing from attacks by UPC fighters on the town of Mongbwalu in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo in late 2002. This witness is one of three victims of crimes alleged to have been committed by Ntaganda and his UPC militia who are testifying this week in trial of the former Congolese rebel commander in The Hague.

The witness stated that, after traveling 10 kilometers seeking refuge from fighting, she and her … Continue Reading

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Witness Says Ntaganda’s Soldiers Tortured Him, Killed Six Members of His Family

A victim of crimes allegedly committed by Bosco Ntaganda’s troops has narrated how Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) fighters tortured him and killed six members of his family, including his wife.

Testifying in Swahili under the pseudonym Witness V1, he told International Criminal Court (ICC) judges on Monday that rebel troops also burned his three houses to the ground and stole his livestock and other household property.

He said his ordeal at the hands of the rebels started towards the end of 2002, when they arrested him and kept him at a prison in the village of Nizi. “They beat me severely before reaching Nizi, and when I reached there they beat me severely,” recalled the witness, who was previously known by … Continue Reading

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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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