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Lubanga Trial: August and September in Review

In August …

The Court received two appeals from the prosecution: one appeal against the stay of proceedings and one against the order of release for Lubanga.

In his July 30, 2010 filing, Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo argues that judges should not have halted the Lubanga trial because the prosecutors had not complied with a Court order (to name Intermediary 143 who is accused of encouraging people to lie to the Court and state that they were a child soldier). Instead Moreno-Ocampo states that the judges should have followed Article 71 of the Rome Statute, which requires a “sanction for misconduct” when Court orders have not been followed. In addition, Moreno-Ocampo asserts the stay of proceedings was “excessive and disproportionate” and that “the chamber further erred in failing to grant a proportionate remedy in the face of what it characterized as the prosecution’s errors of approach and attitude”.

On August 5, Victims’ lawyers requested that the victims who are taking part in the Lubanga trial “become party to the prosecution’s appeal against his release” and in his August 6 filing, Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo requested that all of the applications by victims’ lawyers to participate in the appeals proceedings be granted.

In her August 9 filing, Lubanga lawyer Catherine Mabille requested that the prosecution’s appeals be rejected stating, “The suspension of proceedings ordered by the chamber, far from being unjustified or excessive, appears to be the logical and inevitable consequence of the unacceptable behavior of the prosecutor in this case.”

On August 17, judges accepted the request by victims’ lawyers that victims participating in the Lubanga trial be able to participate in the appeals trial.

In his filing, Paolina Massidda, the Principal Counsel of the Office of the Public Counsel for Victims at the International Criminal Court (ICC), explains that now Lubanga knows the identity of witnesses, his release would “seriously endanger the safety of victims.”

In September …

Victims’ lawyer, Luc Walleyn, stated in his appeal to judges that releasing Lubanga would end victims’ hopes for justice, “After four years of participation in the proceedings, the victims would never have the opportunity to expose the harm they suffered, and their requests for compensation would fail.”

On September 7, Lubanga lawyer Catherine Mabille argued that the stay of proceedings cannot be changed. “The [trial] chamber handed down a permanent and irreversible suspension of proceedings” … “The appeals chamber has already noted that in such circumstances, the accused should be released because his continued detention would be incompatible with the exercise of the court’s criminal jurisdiction.”

In his September 16 filing, Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo requested that the prosecution be allowed to take testimony during the stay of proceedings and added that on September 13, the prosecution disclosed the identity of Intermediary 143 to the defense. In a September 20 filing, the defense opposed the prosecution’s application to take testimony stating that it was “clearly inadmissible.”

On September 24, 2010, judges Adrian Fulford, Elizabeth Odio Benito, and René Blattmann rejected the prosecution’s request to interview witnesses during the stay of proceedings.

This post was created by Kate Davey through sourcing from the reporting of  Wairagala Wakabi and Tracey Gurd from lubangatrial.org and from one of our partners AEGIS Trust.

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