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DRC: Latest Statements, Updates and News
29 Aug 2011
Please find below information about recent developments related to the International Criminal Court's (ICC) investigation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This message includes trial updates (I); Coalition member statements on a DRC specialized mixed court (II); news and opinion (III); and audiovisual resources (IV).
Please take note of the Coalition's policy on situations before the ICC (below), which explicitly states that the CICC will not take a position on potential and current situations before the Court or situations under analysis. The Coalition, however, will continue to provide the most up-to-date information about the ICC.
I. TRIAL UPDATES
1. LUBANGA TRIAL
On 25 and 26 August 2011, the closing statements in the case The Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo took place before ICC Trial Chamber I. The Lubanga trial, the ICC's first, opened on 26 January 2009. Lubanga was the first person charged in the DRC situation as well as the Court's first detainee. The Lubanga proceedings are the first test of formal victim participation in an international criminal trial. The case also highlights the gravity of recruitment, enlistment and conscription of child soldiers.
A. ICC STATEMENT
i. "Trial Chamber I to deliberate on the case against Thomas Lubanga Dyilo," ICC Press Release, ICC-CPI-20110826-PR714, 26 August 2011, http://www.icc-cpi.int/NR/exeres/F6852F83-165D-4D4C-8345-248899A589BC.htm
"The trial in the case The Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, the first opened by the International Criminal Court (ICC), has entered its final stages following the hearing of closing statements that took place from 25 and 26 August 2011. During the last two days, the Prosecution, the legal representatives of victims and the Defence presented their final arguments. Trial Chamber I, comprising Judge Adrian Fulford (presiding judge), Judge Elizabeth Odio Benito and Judge René Blattmann will deliberate on the proceedings and, within a reasonable period, will pronounce its decision. The Chamber bases its decision only on the applicable law and on evidence submitted and discussed before it at the trial.
Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, a national of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is accused of having committed, as a co-perpetrator, war crimes of enlisting and conscripting children under the age of 15 years into the Forces patriotiques pour la libération du Congo (Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of the Congo) (FPLC), and using them to participate actively in hostilities in Ituri, a district of the eastern province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, between September 2002 and August 2003. He was surrendered and transferred to the Court on 17 March 2006, upon a warrant of arrest issued by Pre-Trial Chamber I. The trial started on 26 January 2009.
Over the course of 220 hearings, the Chamber heard 36 witnesses called by the Office of the Prosecutor, including 3 experts, 19 witnesses called by the Defence and 3 witnesses called by the legal representatives of the victims participating in the proceedings. The Chamber also called 4 other experts to testify. The Judges ensured the respect of the rights guaranteed by the Rome Statute to each of the parties, including the right to cross-examine the witnesses.
A total of 123 victims, represented by three teams of legal counsel, were authorized to participate in the trial. They have expressed their position on matters heard before the Chamber and were authorized to examine witnesses on specific issues.
The Trial Chamber issued 307 oral decisions, and 624 written decisions. The parties and participants before the Chamber exchanged more than 3,560 filings amounting to more than 53,000 pages."
B. COALITION MEMBER UPDATES
i. "Gender Issues and Child Soldiers - Prosecutor v Thomas Lubanga Dyilo," by Brigid Inder, Executive Director, Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice, 25 August 2011, http://www.iccwomen.org/news/berichtdetail.php?we_objectID=125
ii. "The ICC's First Trial: Milestones Mixed with Near-Disasters," by Alison Cole, Lubanga Trial Blog, 19 August 2011, http://www.lubangatrial.org/2011/08/19/the-iccâ€™s-first-trial-milestones-mixed-with-near-disasters/
iii. "Prosecutors and Victims' Representatives Make Closing Statements in Lubanga Trial," by Alpha Sesay, Lubanga Trial Blog, 25 August 2011, http://www.lubangatrial.org/2011/08/25/prosecutors-and-victims-representatives-make-closing-statements-in-lubanga-trial/
iv. "Trial of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo at the ICC: Closing Arguments," Open Society Initiatives, 16 August 2011, http://www.soros.org/initiatives/justice/articles_publications/publications/lubanga-closing-20110816/lubanga-briefing-20110816.pdf
v. "Lubanga trial: time line," Open Society Initiatives, 16 August 2011, http://www.soros.org/initiatives/justice/articles_publications/publications/lubanga-closing-20110816/lubanga-timeline-20110816.pdf
C. COALITION MEMBERS QUOTED
i. "Prosecution says evidence in International Court's first trial enough to convict Congo warlord," The Washington Post, 25 August 2011, http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/prosecution-says-evidence-in-international-courts-first-trial-enough-to-convict-congo-warlord/2011/08/25/gIQA2VnWdJ_story.html
ii. "ICC Still Facing Rape Case Challenges," by Passy Mubalama and Espérance Nzigire, IWPR, 8 August 2011, http://iwpr.net/report-news/icc-still-facing-rape-case-challenges
2. KATANGA/NGUDJOLO TRIAL
On 15 August 2011, the defence of Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui began to present its evidence before ICC Trial Chamber II. It is expected that 10 witnesses, including Ngudjolo Chui himself, will provide testimonies at this stage of the hearings.
i. "Accused was not in Bogoro, witness says," Hirondelle News Agency, 21 August 2011, http://www.hirondellenews.com/content/view/14630/564/
3. MBARUSHIMANA CASE
On 16 August 2011, ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I postponed the confirmation of charges hearing in the Mbarushimana case to 16 September 2011, due to a number of disclosure and translation issues which could not adequately be remedied prior to the original hearing date. On 11 August 2011, the chamber granted participatory status to 130 victim applicants.
i. "ICC's confirmation of charges hearing in the Mbarushimana case has been postponed to 16 September", ICC Press Release, ICC-CPI-20110816-PR710, 16 August
ii. "Confirmation of charges hearings postponed to September 16," Hirondelle News Agency, 17 August 2011, http://www.hirondellenews.com/content/view/14617/1182/
II. DRC SPECIALIZED MIXED COURT - COALITION MEMBER STATEMENTS
1. "DRC: members of the Senate thwart bill on specialized mixed Court," FIDH, ASADHO, Groupe Lotus , and Ligue des électeurs, 23 August 2011, http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/documents/rdcsenateurs.pdf (In French)
i. "Recommendations for an independent and effective specialized mixed court," FIDH ASADHO, Groupe Lotus, Ligue des électeurs, August 2011,http://www.fidh.org/IMG//pdf/notepositionfidhligues_courspecialiseemixtesrdc_final.pdf
ii. "Establishment of a Specialized Mixed Court for the Prosecution of Serious International Crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo," Common Position of 34 civil society organizations, April 2011, http://www.fidh.org/IMG/pdf/Position_Commune_Cour_Specialisee_Mixte_14_avril_2011_EN.pdf
2. "DR Congo: Pass Mixed Court Law: Death Penalty Should Be Removed as Inherently Cruel and Inhuman," 3o civil society organizations, 17 August 2011, http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/08/17/dr-congo-pass-mixed-court-law
3. "DRC: Neglected Congolese victims deserve justice now," Amnesty International, 10 August 2011, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report/drc-neglected-congolese-victims-deserve-justice-now-2011-08-10
i. "The time for justice is now: New strategy needed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo," Amnesty International Report, AFR 62/006/2011, 10 August 2011, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR62/006/2011/en/6cd862df-be60-418e-b70d-7d2d53a0a2d4/afr620062011en.pdf
III. NEWS AND OPINION
1. "Witnesses "lied" at Congo warlord's ICC trial-defence," Reuters Africa, 26 August 2011, http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFLDE77P0NV20110826
2. "Lubanga guilty "beyond any possible doubt": ICC prosecutors," Radio Netherlands, 26 August 2011, http://www.rnw.nl/africa/bulletin/lubanga-guilty-beyond-any-possible-doubt-icc-prosecutor-0
3. "Congo militiaman claims innocence before world crimes court," by Nicolas Delaunay, AFP, 26 August 2011, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hZ9WKmsE-inK8dOqbWhL40EqjC4g?docId=CNG.4fda9a8f1ec9e318f40ffd9ffa564117.471
4. "Judges urged to convict Congo warlord Thomas Lubanga," The Guardian, 25 August 2011, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/25/judges-urged-convict-thomas-lubanga
5. "Lawyers wrap up Int'l Court's first trial," By Mike Corder, Associated Press, 25 August 2011, http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/lawyers-wrap-up-intl-1140146.html
6. "ICC's landmark debut trial concludes after two years," by Aaron Gray-Block, Reuters, 24 August 2011, http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/24/us-warcrimes-lubanga-idUSTRE77N32N20110824
7. "Lubanga: final chapters in first ICC trial," RNW, 24 August 2011, http://www.rnw.nl/international-justice/article/lubanga-final-chapters-first-icc-trial
8. "Kinshasa discusses the creation of a Specialized Mixed Court," Hirondelle News Agency, 19 August 2011,
9. "When government gets too small, chaos reigns," by Michael Gerson, Washington Post (Via Kansas City), 25 August 2011,
IV. AUDIOVISUAL RESOURCES
1. "ICC's first defendant 'guilty beyond doubt'," AFP, 25 August 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqfg4_WGpwQ&feature=related
2. "Angelina Jolie Attends Congolese Warlord Trial," Associated Press, 26 August 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDQaFx7gVVk&feature=player_embedded
3. "Lubanga Trial: Closing arguments : Defence," International Criminal Court, 26 August 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RP17wz9Ij94&feature=relmfu (In French)
4. "Lubanga Trial: Closing arguments : Victim's representatives," International Criminal Court, 25 August 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bd1BMPb40vA&feature=relmfu (In French)
5. "Lubanga Trial: Closing arguments : Office of the Prosecutor", International Criminal Court, 25 August 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KA-c09zPq7A (In French)
6. "In the Courtroom' programme - Introductory Video in the case, The Prosecutor v. Callixte Mbarushimana," International Criminal Court, 12 August 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRjaN9VkMwE (In French)
7. "Katanga and Ngudjolo Chui Trial: 15-19 August 2011," International Criminal Court, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaVUKcVHJek&feature=related (In French)
CICC's policy on the referral and prosecution of situations before the ICC:
The Coalition for the ICC is not an organ of the court. The CICC is an independent NGO movement dedicated to the establishment of the International Criminal Court as a fair, effective, and independent international organization. The Coalition will continue to provide the most up-to-date information about the ICC and to help coordinate global action to effectively implement the Rome Statute of the ICC. The Coalition will also endeavor to respond to basic queries and to raise awareness about the ICC's trigger mechanisms and procedures, as they develop. The Coalition as a whole, and its secretariat, do not endorse or promote specific investigations or prosecutions or take a position on situations before the ICC. However, individual CICC members may endorse referrals, provide legal and other support on investigations, or develop partnerships with local and other organizations in the course of their efforts. Communications to the ICC can be sent to: ICC P.O. box 19519 2500 CM The Hague, the Netherlands.