ICC upholds war crimes acquittal of DRC leader

2015-02-27 17:30
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The Hague - The International Criminal Court on Friday upheld the acquittal of Congolese ex-militia leader Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui who had been freed more than two years ago in a trial on war crimes charges.

"The appeals chamber by majority confirms the acquittal and rejects the (prosecution) appeal," Judge Sanji Mmasenono Monageng told The Hague-based ICC, the world's only permanent war crimes tribunal.

Ngudjolo, 44, is a former leader of the Nationalist Integrationist Front (FNI) militia in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and his acquittal in December 2012 was a first for the ICC.

Judges said at the time that prosecutors had failed to prove his commanding role in a 2003 attack by ethnic Lendu forces on Bogoro village in the vast country's restive northeast Ituri region in which more than 200 villagers were slaughtered.

Criticised the judges

Ngudjolo had faced charges including using child soldiers in the horrific ethnically motivated attack. Many of the victims of the opposing Hema group were burnt alive, and babies were smashed against walls, while women were raped and abducted as sex slaves.

Prosecutors subsequently appealed.

Monageng on Friday upheld the trial chamber's verdict, although she criticised its judges for not allowing prosecutors to use information from Ngudjolo's telephone conversations while in detention.

Prosecutors wanted to cross-examine Ngudjolo about the calls, alleging they were made to intimidate witnesses and to influence their testimony.

Overall, the trial judges' decision not to include the evidence had not "materially affected the acquittal", the judge said.


Read more on:    icc  |  drc  |  the netherlands  |  war crimes

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