International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Timeline

September 8, 2000

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) signs the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

April 11, 2002

The DRC ratifies the Rome Statute of the ICC.

April 19, 2004

The Congolese government refers the situation in the DRC to the ICC.

June 23, 2004

The decision of the ICC Prosecutor to launch an investigation into crimes committed in Ituri, DRC, is announced.

March 10, 2005

Germain Katanga, alleged commander of the Force de résistance patriotique en Ituri (FRPI) militia and Brigadier-General of the national Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC), is arrested in connection with the killing of nine UN peacekeepers. He is detained without charge by the Congolese authorities.

July 2, 2007

An ICC arrest warrant is issued for Katanga.

July 6, 2007

An ICC arrest warrant is issued for Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, alleged former leader of the Front des nationalistes et intégrationnistes (FNI) militia.

October 17, 2007

Katanga is surrendered by the Congolese authorities and transferred to the ICC in The Hague.

October 18, 2007

The warrant of arrest is unsealed for Katanga, revealing counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the village of Bogoro in the Ituri Province of eastern DRC from January to March 2003, including murder or wilful killing, inhumane acts, sexual slavery, rape, cruel or inhuman treatment, using children to participate actively in hostilities, outrages upon personal dignity, intentional attack against the civilian population, pillaging and destruction of property.

October 22, 2007

Katanga appears before ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I for the first time.

February 6, 2008

Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui is arrested.

February 7, 2008

The arrest warrant listing the same war crimes and crimes against humanity as those in the arrest warrant for Katanga is unsealed for Ngudjolo. He is surrendered by the Congolese authorities and transferred to the ICC in The Hague.

February 11, 2008

Ngudjolo appears before ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I for the first time.

March 10, 2008

A decision is made to join the Katanga and the Ngudjolo cases, as the two defendants are on trial for the same crimes. The Chamber states that joining the cases will not prejudice the subjects, nor will it be contrary to the interests of justice, and affirms that the cases may be severed at a later date if necessary.

June 27, 2008 – July 16, 2008

Pre-Trial Chamber I holds a confirmation of charges hearing in the case against Katanga and Ngudjolo. The hearing had twice been postponed by the Chamber to provide the parties involved more preparation time.

September 26, 2008

Pre-Trial Chamber I confirms all but three of the charges against Katanga and Ngudjolo. The Chamber confirmed seven counts of war crimes and three counts of crimes against humanity. The judges declined three charges on the grounds of insufficient evidence: the charges of inhuman treatment and outrages upon personal dignity (war crimes), and inhumane acts (a crime against humanity).

The Chamber confirmed the war crimes of using children under the age of fifteen to take active part in hostilities, directing an attack against civilians, wilful killing, destruction of property, pillaging, sexual slavery, and rape.  The three counts of crimes against humanity include murder, rape, and sexual slavery allegedly committed in Bogoro, a village in the Ituri Province of eastern DRC, from January to March 2003.

March 27, 2009

In a decision issued on March 27, 2009 the Trial Chamber II of the ICC set the commencement of the trial in the case of against Katanga and Ngudjolo for September 24, 2009.

August 31, 2009

Trial Chamber II decides to postpone the commencement of the trial to November 24, 2009.

November 24, 2009

The ICC trial against Katanga and Ngudjolo commences.

December 2, 2009

Trial Chamber II postpones hearings in the case against Katanga and Ngudjolo due to illness that prevents one of the judges from attending.

January 26, 2010

The trial resumes with the Prosecution case.

December 8, 2010

The Prosecution closes its case.

February 21, 2011

The trial resumes after the winter recess.  The testimony of victims begins.

March 24, 2011

The opening of the defense case for Germain Katanga.

April 6, 2011

The first joint witness, Floribert Njabu, begins his testimony in defense of Katanga and Ngudjolo.

September 27, 2011

Katanga begins testifying. It is the first time in the history of the ICC, the accused has taken the witness stand in his own defense.

October 20, 2011

Katanga completes testimony in his own defense, completing his defense.

October 27, 2011

Mathieu Ngudjolo begins testifying in his own defense.

November 11, 2011

Mathieu Ngudjolo, the final defense witness, completes his testimony, ending the defense case.

January 16-20, 2012

The Judges of Trial Chamber II visit Bogoro and surrounding villages in Ituri, DRC. The site visit allows them to see the scene where the alleged crimes Katanga and Ngudjolo are charged with took place.

May 15, 2012

Prosecution closing arguments begin.

May 23, 2012

Defense closing arguments begin.

November 21, 2012

In a majority decision, Trial Chamber II informs the parties that it is considering a re-characterization of the facts of the case concerning the mode of liability applicable to Katanga. Recognizing this would prolong Katanga’s trial, the judges severed the charges in order to not cause undue delay in the judgment of Ngudjolo.

December 18, 2012

Trial Chamber II acquits Ngudjolo of all charges. The judges conclude that the prosecution had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Ngudjolo was responsible for the crimes committed during the attack on Bogoro.

December 21, 2012

The ICC releases Ngudjolo from custody. He remains in the Netherlands pending the removal of a United Nations travel ban against him.

March 15, 2013

Trial Chamber II provides additional information on potential changes in the charges against Katanga.

November 19, 2013

Trial Chamber II decides to move forward with the case and sets a judgment date for February 7, 2014. That date is later postponed until March 7, 2014.

March 7, 2014

Trial Chamber II at the ICC convicts Germain Katanga as an accessory to one crime against humanity (murder) and four war crimes (murder, attacking a civilian population, destruction of property, and pillaging). The chamber changed the characterization of the mode of liability against Katanga, who had initially been charged as a principle perpetrator.

May 23, 2014

Trial Chamber II at the ICC sentences Katanga to 12 years in prison. This is to be reduced by the time he has spent in the ICC detention center before and during his trial (since October 2007), which is approximately seven years.

June 25, 2014

Germain Katanga drops his appeal against the judgment and sentence rendered against him for one crime against humanity and four war crimes. This makes the trial chamber decision final.

October 21, 2014

The Appeals Chamber hears oral arguments in the prosecution’s appeal to Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui’s acquittal. The prosecution appealed the trial chamber judgment on three grounds following the chamber’s December 2012 acquittal of Ngudjolo.

February 27, 2015

The Appeals Chamber upholds the acquittal of Ngudjolo, finding the prosecution’s arguments unpersuasive. He is the first person to be acquitted by the ICC.