International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Witness Talks of Seeing LRA Leader Being Possessed by Spirits

A former long-serving member of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that sessions during which the LRA leader said he was possessed by spirits helped bind young members to the rebel group.

Witness P-070 told the court on Monday that LRA leader Joseph Kony told members of the rebel group about several spirits he said would possess him. He said whenever Kony knew this was going to happen he would call together all members of the group to witness it and hear what the spirit had to say.

The witness said when Kony was possessed by a spirit his eyes turned red and he would have a vacant look. He said other times Kony would have a … Continue Reading

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Witness Says Kony Ordered Attacks on Teso in Retaliation for the Death of a Senior LRA Commander

A prosecution witness told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that the top leadership of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) took no action against a brigade commander who disobeyed orders to go to the battlefront and another who released abducted civilians.

Witness P-070, a former LRA fighter, told the court on Friday the commander of the Gilva brigade was known as coward among the senior ranks of the LRA. The witness also said the commander of the Stockree brigade at times told his fighters not to kill civilians, released newly abducted civilians, and deliberately hid this from his superiors.

The witness was testifying in the trial of a former LRA commander Dominic Ongwen, who has been charged with 70 counts of war crimes … Continue Reading

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Former LRA Fighter Says Ongwen Did Not Plan Pajule Attack

A former fighter with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) testified that Dominic Ongwen could not have planned an attack on the Pajule camp for internally displaced people—an attack he has been charged with at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Witness P-045 told the court on Thursday that Ongwen was under arrest at Control Altar, the LRA’s high command, when the Pajule attack was planned. She said Ongwen was present when the Pajule attack was discussed at a meeting at Control Altar, but that others who took part in the meeting were more senior than Ongwen.

Ongwen faces 10 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the October 2003 attack on Pajule. He has been charged with … Continue Reading

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En conclusion de son témoignage devant la CPI, M. Ntaganda nie avoir exercé des pressions sur les témoins

Après s’être présenté plusieurs semaines à la barre des témoins, Bosco Ntaganda a conclu aujourd’hui son témoignage apporté pour sa propre défense devant la Cour pénale internationale (CPI). La conclusion de son témoignage s’est concentré sur ses communications passées depuis le centre de détention de la Cour qu’il aurait, selon l’accusation, utilisées pour influencer les témoins.

Interrogé par l’avocat de la défense Stéphane Bourgon pour savoir si, lors de ses communications, il avait demandé à une personne de « duper » ou de « mentir à la Cour », M. Ntaganda a répondu, « Pas du tout. Lorsque je parlais à quelqu’un, il s’agissait souvent d’une personne avec laquelle j’étais en contact avant [d’être en détention à la CPI]. Je disais, « comment ça va ? ». S’il s’agissait de … Continue Reading

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Trust Fund Unveils Reparations Plan for Katanga Victims

The International Criminal Court’s (ICC’s) Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) has published a plan for implementing reparation awards to 297 victims of crimes committed by former Congolese militia leader German Katanga. According to an order by ICC judges, each victim will receive an individual symbolic compensation of US$250, while housing and educational assistance, income-generating activities, and psychological rehabilitation will form the collective reparations.

In March 2014, Katanga was found guilty of being an accessory to war crimes and crimes against humanity stemming from a February 2003 attack on civilians in Bogoro, a village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In May of that year, he was sentenced to 12 years in jail. Last March, judges issued an order for reparations … Continue Reading

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ICC Finds South Africa Did Not Fulfill Its Obligation to Arrest Sudan’s President but Declines to Refer Matter to Security Council

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has ruled South Africa failed to fulfill its obligations as member of the court when the government did not act on the ICC arrest warrants for Sudan’s president when he visited South Africa in 2015.

The three judges comprising Pre-Trial Chamber II unanimously decided on Thursday, July 6, not to refer the matter to either the United Nations Security Council or the ICC’s membership. Article 87 of the ICC’s founding law, the Rome Statute, provides for the court to refer a member state to the wider membership or the Security Council for not cooperating with the court.

The chamber was making a decision on the two-year old matter now because it decided to wait until a similar case before South … Continue Reading

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Concerns over Bid to Wrap Up Outstanding Investigations at Cambodia’s ECCC

The Open Society Justice Initiative, which has been monitoring events at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia since before the tribunal opened proceedings in 2007, has expressed its concern about an apparent bid by the ECCC’s two investigating judges to put a permanent stay on its their three outstanding cases.

The proposal was made on May 5, 2017, by the two co-investigating judges, Michael Bohlander and You Bunleng, in a highly unconventional “confidential request” to the court. Although filed under seal, the filing was then leaked to the press; subsequently the two judges publicly acknowledged its existence and basic substance.

In the filing, they announced that they are preparing to issue a “permanent stay” of the three cases they are currently responsible for … Continue Reading

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South Africa Tells ICC It Was Not Obliged to Arrest Sudanese President; Prosecution Disagrees

South Africa told the International Criminal Court (ICC) it did not have a duty to act on an ICC arrest warrant for Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir because Sudan is not a member state of the ICC.

Dire Tladi argued further on Friday that as a member state of the ICC, South Africa could not be compelled to arrest a head of state of a country that is not a member of the ICC because that person enjoyed immunity under customary international law.

Tladi made submissions before Pre-Trial Chamber II on behalf of the government of South Africa. He is a special adviser to South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation.

He made his arguments during a hearing that Pre-Trial Chamber II had … Continue Reading

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ICC Chamber Excludes Victims from Bashir Cooperation Proceedings

On Friday, April 7, the International Criminal Court (ICC) will hold a hearing in the case against Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir, for the first time in seven years. Pre-Trial Chamber II will hear submissions on whether action should be taken against South Africa for failing to surrender President Bashir during his visit to that country in June 2015 for an African Union summit.

Notably absent from the hearing will be any representative of the victims of Bashir’s alleged crimes, although a small number of them have been granted status to participate in the case.

The role given to victims in ICC proceedings is often described as ground-breaking. Victims’ voices, so it is claimed, are what distinguish this court from previous international … Continue Reading

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Réactions des victimes congolaises dans la perspective des réparations dans l’affaire Lubanga

Cet article a été préparé par notre partenaire Radio Canal Révélation, une station radio basée à Bunia, en République démocratique du Congo (RDC), dans le cadre d’un projet de radio interactive pour la justice et la paix qui favorise la mise en débat des questions touchant à la justice en RDC.

Les victimes des crimes commis par Thomas Lubanga dans un groupement de la communauté Lendu dans la Province de l’Ituri, ont accueilli favorablement la décision du Fonds au Profit des Victimes (Fonds) affectant un million d’euros aux réparations collectives en République démocratique du Congo.

« Nous acceptons que le Fonds nous construise des stades, des centres de santé, réhabilite nos routes… ceci va nous faire oublier les crimes du passé… [M]algré … Continue Reading

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