Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands, has declared a closed the evidentiary phase of the trial of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo. The court had previously announced the schedule for closing arguments, previously discussed here, which Judge Adrian Fulford announced will not be changed. “The clock has started ticking and nothing save an earthquake will stop it,” The Lubangatrial.org blog reports him as saying.
Thomas Lubanga Dyilo is the first person to face the International Criminal Court. He is accused of the war crimes of recruiting, using and conscripting child soldiers. He was brought to the court in 2006, and his trial began in January of 2009. The defense began presenting it’s case in January 2010. The case stopped several times because of the prosecution cross examining witnesses with information that had not been disclosed to the defense. At one point, the trial chamber issued a stay, finding that Lubanga could not get a fair trial, the appeals chamber reversed, but disclosure of evidence has continued to be an issue. The trial chamber again recently ruled on the disclosure problems and denied another defense request to end the trial because of the disclosure issues.
The questions raised by the ongoing disclosure issues were discussed in part, here. Ultimately, the attitude and actions of the prosecutor in timely and properly disclosing evidence will determine whether or not an accused may get a fair trial at the court. That, and the court’s reaction to the prosecution’s failure to comply with rules and court orders will determine the credibility of the court. The court has been much in the news lately, which has added to American awareness of its existence. It’s continued existence will require credibility in fair trials for the accused followed fair treatment of the victims in the reparations process when there is a conviction.