International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Former LRA Fighter Says She Never Saw Kony in Battle, but Commanders Obeyed His Orders Without Question

A woman who once fought for the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that a female member of the rebel group could choose a husband only if she had been widowed.

Witness P-045 told the court on Wednesday that a widow was free to court whomever she wanted but her choice of partner still had to be approved by her LRA superior. She said this is how she got a second husband after her first one died in battle.

Several witnesses in the trial of a former LRA commander Dominic Ongwen have already testified that when the rebel group abducted girls, commanders allocated them to men and the girls had no choice in the matter. The witnesses have … Continue Reading

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In Concluding Testimony at the ICC, Ntaganda Denies Interfering with Witnesses

After several weeks on the witness stand, Bosco Ntaganda today concluded giving evidence in his own defense at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The concluding parts of his testimony focused on his communications from the court’s detention center, which the prosecution alleges he used to interfere with witnesses.

Asked by defense lawyer Stéphane Bourgon whether, through his communications, he asked anyone to “mislead” or “lie before the court,” Ntaganda replied, “Not at all. When I would speak to someone, often it was people I had contact with [before detention at the ICC]. I would say how ‘are things going?’ If it was someone who was with me [during the conflict], I would ask to be reminded of certain events,” stated Ntaganda.

He … Continue Reading

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Former LRA Fighter Testifies About Attacks on Abok and Odek IDP Camps

A former fighter with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) described to the International Criminal Court (ICC) his role in attacks on the Abok and Odek camps for people displaced by the conflict in northern Uganda.

Witness P-340 told the court this week how he was abducted by the LRA and remained with the group for two years before escaping from the rebel group in late 2004.

The witness was testifying in hearings before Trial Chamber IX that resumed on Monday after a three-week break. The previous hearing in the trial of former LRA commander Dominic Ongwen took place on August 22.

During his cross-examination of Witness P-340, Ongwen’s lead lawyer, Krispus Ayena Odongo, doubted whether the witness was a member of the LRA’s … Continue Reading

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Ntaganda to Call Fewer Witnesses Than Initially Anticipated

Bosco Ntaganda’s lawyers intend to reduce the number of witnesses they will call to testify for the former Congolese rebel commander at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“We need to take full stock of Ntaganda’s testimony before we confirm to the chamber and come forward with a list of new witnesses,” lead defense lawyer Stéphane Bourgon said on Friday afternoon. The defense said it would provide the details of the witnesses to be dropped off its list, but that it was “likely they could be more than 11”.

Prior to the opening of the defense case last May, Bourgon indicated that they intended to call more than 100 witnesses to testify for Ntaganda, who is on trial at the ICC over crimes … Continue Reading

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M. Ntaganda devrait appeler moins de témoins qu’initialement prévu

Les avocats de Bosco Ntaganda ont l’intention de diminuer le nombre de témoins qu’ils appelleront pour témoigner à décharge pour l’ancien commandant rebelle congolais devant la Cour pénale internationale (CPI).

« Nous avons besoin de prendre la pleine mesure du témoignage de M. Ntaganda avant de le confirmer à la chambre et de présenter une liste de nouveaux témoins », a déclaré vendredi après-midi l’avocat principal de la défense Stéphane Bourgon. La défense a indiqué qu’elle donnerait des détails sur les témoins retirés de sa liste mais qu’il était « probable qu’ils pourraient être plus de 11 ».

Avant l’ouverture de la présentation des moyens de la défense en mai dernier, Me Bourgon a indiqué qu’il avait l’intention d’appeler plus de 100 témoins à décharge pour M. Ntaganda, qui est … Continue Reading

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Ntaganda Maintains That He Did Not Kill a Priest

Former Congolese rebel commander Bosco Ntaganda has continued to deny the prosecution’s accusation that he killed priest Boniface Bwanalonga during an ethnic conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2002. Giving evidence in his own defense at the International Criminal Court (ICC), Ntaganda also denied giving orders to his troops to rape three nuns who were arrested together with Bwanalonga.

According to Ntaganda, the priest was arrested during field operations by fighters from the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) in the town of Mongbwalu. Three nuns in the priest’s company at the time of his arrest purportedly volunteered to escort him to the militia group’s camp.  “They refused to leave the priest when he was arrested in the … Continue Reading

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M. Ntaganda soutient qu’il n’a pas tué un prêtre

L’ancien commandant rebelle congolais Bosco Ntaganda a continué à nier l’accusation des procureurs selon laquelle il avait tué le prêtre Boniface Bwanalonga lors d’un conflit ethnique qui s’est déroulé dans la République démocratique du Congo (RDC) en 2002. Apportant un témoignage pour sa propre défense devant la Cour pénale internationale (CPI), M. Ntaganda a également nié avoir donné des ordres à ses troupes pour violer les trois nonnes qui avaient été arrêtées avec M. Bwanalonga.

Selon M. Ntaganda, le prêtre avait été arrêté lors d’opérations sur le terrain menées par des combattants de l’Union des patriotes congolais (UPC) dans la ville de Mongbwalu. Au moment de son arrestation, les trois nonnes de la congrégation du prêtre l’auraient volontairement escorté jusqu’au camp de la milice. … Continue Reading

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Ntaganda Says He Punished Soldiers Who Attacked Civilians

In his continuing testimony at the International Criminal Court (ICC), ex-militia leader Bosco Ntaganda stated that he enforced discipline in the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (FPLC) and punished any fighter who attacked civilians.

“If any soldier had attacked the civilian population and such information was brought to my attention, such soldier would be punished,” said Ntaganda. He was responding to a question by a prosecuting lawyer Nicole Samson about the alleged attacks by FPLC militia on members of the Lendu ethnic group.

Asked by Samson whether he investigated any ethnically motivated attacks, Ntaganda stated that the FPLC provided protection to all ethnic groups in Congo’s Ituri district, and there were no campaigns against civilians of Lendu ethnicity.

“In my capacity … Continue Reading

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M. Ntaganda déclare avoir puni les soldats qui attaquaient les civils

Dans la suite de son témoignage apporté devant la Cour pénale internationale (CPI), l’ancien chef rebelle Bosco Ntaganda a affirmé qu’il avait imposé une discipline au sein des Forces patriotiques pour la libération du Congo (FPLC) et avait puni tout combattant qui avait attaqué des civils.

« Si un soldat avait attaqué la population civile et que cette information était portée à mon attention, ce soldat était puni », a déclaré M. Ntaganda. Il répondait à une question posée par le substitut du procureur Nicole Samson au sujet des attaques présumées menées par la milice FPLC sur les membres du groupe ethnique Lendu.

Interrogé par Me Samson pour savoir s’il avait fait enquêter sur les attaques à motivation ethnique, M. Ntaganda a déclaré que les FPLC apportaient … Continue Reading

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Ntaganda Trial: Uganda Cited in Training of Child Soldiers

Following a one-month break, Bosco Ntaganda has resumed testimony in his own defense at the International Criminal Court (ICC), denying knowledge of the existence of child soldiers among the Congolese militia forces trained by the Uganda government.

Under cross-examination by prosecution lawyer Nicole Samson, Ntaganda stated that Ugandan authorities were in charge of the training exercise and he “was not in a position to know” the age of recruits airlifted to Uganda in 2000.

According to prosecution, in August 2000, Uganda’s army airlifted up to 700 Congolese militia fighters to train them at two military schools in Uganda. Samson stated that the trainees included up to 163 children, some under the age of 18 and others below 15 years of age. When … Continue Reading

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