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Lubanga Trial: May in Review

CSR Director of Research Projects Kate Davey reports on the Thomas Lubanga trial for the month of May.

On May 3…

The third witness for the defense testified in closed session.  Prior to that, the prosecution finished its examination of defense witness Paul Bejijjo Chonga, who told the Court he joined the UPC because the Nationalist and Integrationist Front were raping and killing near his home.

Lead defense counsel, Catherine Mabille, told the Court that the defense has found “extremely important discrepancies” and as such requested that the all the transcripts be urgently reviewed.

On May 5, the defense questioned the father of a witness that had testified in January as Dieudonné Tonyfwa Urochi, whose identity is now in question. 

The defense asserted that two of their witnesses are unable to travel to The Hague because their witnesses’ identities have been stolen by two other witnesses that have already testified in Court. The witnesses accused of stealing the identities are known as Witness 225 and Witness 229.

On May 11…

Judge Fulford stated that Witness 297, a former child soldier in the UPC, who was unable to testify in April 2009 due to health problems, will testify May 17 and will first be questioned by the Prosecution.

On Tuesday, Judge Fulford ruled that the prosecution may interview a former suspect the prosecution questioned in 2005, known to the Court as Witness 3. It is expected that the prosecution will question Witness 3 about the intermediaries for the Court and although the defense will not be present for the questioning, the prosecution will provide the defense and the chambers with a transcript. 

On May 17…

Witness 297 told the Court he was abducted from school and then forced into the UPC and stated that he saw Lubanga twice during his time as a soldier. 

The witness further testified during the week that although he was offered money by a social relief worker if he left the UPC, he was hesitant to do so because being a soldier ensured that he had money.

On May 19, Judge Fulford asked the defense when they planned to make their dismissal of the case against Lubanga on the grounds of abuse of process, which the defense had notified the Court they planned to do back in January. The defense stated they would make the application after two intermediaries and an investigator for the Office of the Prosecutor gives testimony.

On May 24…

Witness 297 admitted that he lied in his statement when he told investigators that his commander had been Floribert Kisembo, rather than Bosco Ntaganda as he stated in Court. The witness explained that he had been afraid to mention Ntaganda’s name as he had heard his name on the radio.  He further stated, “Yes, I told investigators that I saw Bosco three times but I was afraid of saying everything about him… because I said to myself that I might be arrested and thrown in prison. Or I might be asked to tell people where Bosco was.”

Judge Fulford stated that the fact that Witness 297 told an OTP investigator that he was looking for assistance from the Court in the way of his dowry should have been made known to the defense.

On May 25, the defense presented documents to the Court that the defense says will prove that seven prosecution witnesses, who testified in Court as former child soldiers, are not former child soldiers.

The prosecution had nine witnesses who testified in Court that they were former child soldiers in the UPC.

On May 31…

Judge Adrian Fulford announced that Witness 3, who had agreed to give an interview to the prosecution, has decided now not to go through with the interview. The Judges further stated that they had rejected an application by the prosecution to prevent defense representatives in interviews the prosecution plans with two intermediaries, who will testify in Court.

This post was created by Kate Davey through sourcing from the reporting of  Wairagala Wakabi from lubangatrial.org

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Filed under: Congo, Intl Criminal Ct, Lubanga Trial

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