International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Lawyers Brief ICC on Dutch Asylum Cases

Dutch lawyers representing three individuals who appeared as witnesses before the International Criminal Court (ICC) have filed an amicus brief before the ICC. The lawyers informed Trial Chamber II about the witness’ ongoing asylum proceedings and proceedings about their detention, currently pending before the Dutch Supreme Court.

The three witnesses were brought to The Hague in March 2011 to testify in the defense of Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, who were charged by the ICC with war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during an attack on Bogoro, a village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The witnesses had been imprisoned in the DRC pending charges related to the conflict there. Therefore, they were incarcerated at the ICC Detention … Continue Reading

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Trial Chamber II acquits Ngudjolo in second trial judgement at the ICC

Dear Readers,

The following commentary first ran in a Special Issue of the Legal Eye on the ICC, a regular eLetter produced by the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice, an international women’s human rights organization that advocates for gender justice through the International Criminal Court (ICC) and works with women most affected by the conflict situations under investigation by the ICC. This Special Issue is the first in a series of two Special Issues reporting on the trial Judgment handed down by Trial Chamber II in the case against Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui on December 18, 2012. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Open Society Justice Initiative. To read the full version … Continue Reading

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Reactions to the Ngudjolo Decision: Divisions among Iturian Communities

Dear readers – please find below a commentary written by Olivia Bueno at the International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) in consultation with Congolese activists.  The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the International Refugee Rights Initiative or of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

On December 18, 2012, local radio stations, France 24 television (see IRRI’s press review) and the International Criminal Court’s (ICC’s) own outreach section announced the ICC’s second verdict to the population of Ituri: Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui had been acquitted of crimes against humanity and war crimes. As reported on www.katangatrial.org, the decision turned on the failure of the prosecution to prove Ngudjolo’s effective control over the Lendu and Ngiti militias that actually carried out an … Continue Reading

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In Ituri, a Quiet Wait for the Verdict on Ngudjolo

Dear readers – please find below a commentary written by Olivia Bueno at the International Refugee Rights Initiative in consultation with Congolese activists.  The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the International Refugee Rights Initiative or of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

On December 18, 2012, the ICC will announce the second verdict in its history against Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui. In contrast to the fear and anticipation which preceded the March verdict against Thomas Lubanga, this decision is being awaited quietly by people in the affected region of eastern DRC. Many opinion leaders are hesitant to speculate on the potential implications of the decision in the case, adopting a wait and see attitude. … Continue Reading

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European Court of Human Rights Dismisses Petition by ICC Witness

On October 9, 2012, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) made a ruling in the case of Bède Djokaba Lambi Longa against the Netherlands. Mr. Longa, a witness before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Thomas Lubanga trial, had petitioned the human rights court to hear his case on the unlawfulness of his detention and render a verdict. Mr. Longa complained that he was being unlawfully held on Dutch soil and denied an opportunity to seek his release. The ECtHR dismissed the application.

Mr. Longa was one of four witnesses transferred in 2011 to the ICC from detention in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to serve as defense witnesses in two trials before the ICC. Mr. Longa … Continue Reading

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Dutch Court Orders Asylum Applicants to be Released from ICC Custody

In late September, a Dutch court ruled that three witnesses who testified in the International Criminal Court (ICC) case involving Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui must be released from the ICC detention center while they await the outcome of their Dutch asylum claims. The three witnesses had been detained in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) before they were transferred to the ICC detention center to testify for the defense in May 2011.

During their testimony, they claimed that the president of the DRC, Joseph Kabila, was responsible for crimes committed in the country’s Ituri district. For this, the witnesses claimed they would be subject to human rights abuses and their lives would be in danger if they were … Continue Reading

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Lawyers Bring Petition Against the Dutch State for Unlawful Detention of Congolese Witnesses in ICC Trial

The Dutch state is violating the human rights of three Congolese men who have applied for asylum in the Netherlands, their lawyers say. The men testified before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in defense of Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui.

Before coming to testify, they had been imprisoned in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for their alleged role in the murder of UN Peacekeepers. With agreement from the DRC, the men were transferred to the ICC detention center in The Hague and detained there while they testified before the ICC. After their testimony, the men requested asylum in the Netherlands.  They have remained in the ICC detention center pending their Dutch asylum applications. The Dutch authorities have refused … Continue Reading

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Court Releases Confidential Documents to Witness’ Asylum Lawyers

Trial Chamber II at the International Criminal Court (ICC) released confidential documents to be used in the Dutch asylum hearings for three witnesses who testified in defense of Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui. Katanga and Ngudjolo are accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Ituri district of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Three witnesses, who had been detained in the DRC for their alleged role in the murder of UN peacekeepers, were called to testify in defense of the accused. They were transferred to the ICC detention center with the agreement of the DRC and the Netherlands. The men testified that the President of the DRC, Joseph Kabila, was responsible for serious crimes and … Continue Reading

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Q&A With Paolina Massidda, Principal Counsel of the Office of the Public Counsel for Victims at ICC

Paolina Massidda is the Principal Counsel of the Office of the Public Counsel for Victims at the International Criminal Court (ICC). She has represented thousands of victims participating in the proceedings before the Court, right from the first trial the ICC conducted, that of Congolese militia leader Thomas Lubanga. In an interview in mid August, she explained to the Open Society Justice Initiative how victims’ participation has been shaped by the court over the years, her worries about possible  reviews to victims’ participation, and why the first decision issued by the court on reparations presents challenges. 

Wairagala Wakabi: One trial has been completed by the court and two others are going on. What are some of the positive things in … Continue Reading

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Possible Scenarios following Asylum Applications by Four Defense Witnesses

The case of four Congolese defense witnesses, who briefly after testifying at the International Criminal Court (ICC) applied for asylum in the Netherlands, has been discussed extensively on KatangaTrial.org and elsewhere.  This post offers a discussion of possible scenarios that could arise depending on the result of their application before Dutch immigration authorities.

As reported here in December 2011, the Amsterdam District Court ordered the Dutch government to come to a decision on their asylum applications by June 28, 2012. At the moment of writing no determination has reportedly been made. Below I would like to share some thoughts on the possible outcomes of these procedures. I do not intend to predict the most likely outcome. I do not have any … Continue Reading

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