This Friday, ICC judges will issue their judgment on the prosecution’s appeal of the acquittal of Congolese militia leader Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui. The prosecutor wants a retrial of the case, which centered on the murder and rape of some 200 people in one village. Here are 10 facts to bring you up to speed.
- Ngudjolo is the alleged former leader of the National Integrationist Front (FNI), a rebel group in the Ituri conflict in the troubled east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
- Congolese authorities arrested Ngudjolo in 2008 following an arrest warrant issued by the ICC. He was the third suspect to be surrendered to the Court since its establishment in 2002. His acquittal in 2012 was the second judgment issued by the ICC.
- Ngudjolo was accused of leading a FNI attack on the eastern village of Bogoro in February 2003 – during which some 200 people, including women and children, were murdered and raped.
- The militia leader was charged with three crimes against humanity and seven war crimes, included sexual slavery, rape and pillaging, among others.
- He was charged as an “indirect co-perpetrator” – jointly committing the alleged crimes through subordinates – except for the use of child soldiers, for which he was charged directly.
- In March 2008, ICC judges combined Ngudjolo’s case with that of another militia leader, Germain Katanga, on the basis of their alleged shared responsibility for the attack on Bogoro village.
- In November 2012, Katanga and Ngudjolo’s cases were severed in order to avoid potential violations of Ngudjolo’s right to a trial without undue delay. Katanga was eventually separately convicted and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for his role in the attack on Bogoro.
- In December 2012, the judges of Trial Chamber II acquitted Ngudjolo, finding that the prosecution had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he had command responsibility over the FNI rebel group.
- Shortly after the acquittal, the prosecution filed three grounds of appeal, arguing that the Trial Chamber:
- Misapplied the criminal standard of proof;
- Did not consider the totality of the evidence and facts for its decision-making;
- Infringed on the prosecution’s right to a fair trial as it committed “critical errors” in managing the trial that materially affected its case.
- The Trust Fund for Victims (TFV), established under the ICC Rome Statute, has been providing physical and psychological rehabilitation and material support for victims of the crimes tried before the ICC in the Ituri region.
Learn more about the appeal judgment in this briefing paper from the Open Society Justice Initiative.
Have your say – which way do think the decision will go?