Tag Archives: Matthieu Ngdolou Chui

Chui Released from ICC Custody

Matthieu Ngdolou Chui has been released from International Criminal Court (ICC) custody, following his acquittal by Trial Chamber II on Monday.  The prosecutor announced on Tuesday that they would appeal the acquittal and ask the appeals chamber to re-evaluate the evidence.  Both the trial chamber and the appeals chamber denied the prosecutor’s request to hold him in custody pending the appeal.

Chui had been tried along with Germain Katanga for war crimes alleged to have occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  the trial  began in November 2009, and was the second ICC case to proceed to trial.  The defense began presenting its case in April 2011. Last month the court severed the cases and announced a verdict in Chui’s case would come this week.  The case against Katanga is not yet resolved.

 

Chui Found Not Guilty

Matthieu Ngdolo Chui, alleged to have been a leader of militias in the Democratic Republic of  Congo (DRC), was found not guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity today by Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court.  This is the second verdict issued by the ICC.  Thomas Lubanga was convicted earlier this year and sentenced to 14 years for the war crimes of  recruiting and enlisting child soldiers in the DRC.  That case is in its reparations phase.

Chui was indicted and initially tried as a co-defendant with Germain Katanga, but the case was severed November 21, 2012.  Judges are considering motions to change the case and mode of liability for Katanga. The defense began presenting its case in November 2011.  The  prosecution  began presenting its case in November 2009.

There were many issues with the case as it proceeded, including a motion from the prosecution to declare its own witnesses hostile.  Defense witnesses testified, then sought asylum in The Netherlands.  Ultimately, the court decided the witnesses who testified that Chui was the leader of the Lendu militia during an attack on the Bogoro village in the Ituri district of the Eastern DRC were not credible and that the prosecution had not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Coalition for the ICC issued the following statement:

Today’s decision will undoubtedly be a disappointment to the all-too-many victims of the most terrible crimes in a part of the world that has reported, decade after decade, millions of lost lives and where the ICC has tried its best to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity in an ongoing conflict zone, nevertheless, the rule of law must be respected if peace and stability are our ultimate goals. The Coalition urges the ICC to explain today’s decision to victims and affected communities, as well as the reasons behind the delayed verdict against Germain Katanga. said William R. Pace, convenor of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court.

Either side can appeal the decision, a trait of Civil Code systems used in much of Europe, under Common Law, used in the U.K., the U.S. and other former British Colonies, an acquittal cannot be appealed.

Katanga Witnesses Testify, then Seek Asylum

Three witnesses who testified for the defense in the International Criminal Court (ICC) cases against Germain Katanga and Matthieu Ngdolo Chui sought asylum in The Netherlands after their testimony.

According to the Katanga trial website,  the witnesses testified that the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was responsible for the Bogoro attack, one of the allegations against the accused.  The case raises difficult questions for the ICC and its obligations to protect witnesses.   The three claim that by testifying against the government of the DRC they have put themselves at risk, and cannot safely return to the DRC.  They have asked the court to keep them in The Netherlands until Dutch authorities rule on the asylum requests.

The court has an obligation to protect witnesses, but cannot provide asylum.  Returning the witnesses to the DRC if they would be harmed would clearly not be in keeping with the court’s obligation to protect witnesses, but there is a limit to how long the court could hold them in custody, and it has no place to put them that is not custody.

The registry and its Victim and Witnesses Unit is trying to determine whether the safety of the witnesses can be adequately guaranteed with a return to the DRC.  The witnesses were in DRC custody when brought to The Hague.  The question to be resolved is whether or not returning them to DRC custody puts them at greater risk.

The case against Katanga and Chui is the second ICC case to go to trial.  Katanga and Chui are accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Katanga is alleged to have been the commander of the Patriotic Resistance Force of Ituri, (FRPI) and Chui is alleged to have been the leader of the Nationalist Front of Integrationists (FNI) both fighting against the government of the DRC.

The indictment alleges that Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui allegedly jointly committed through other persons, within the meaning of article 25(3)(a) of the Statute:

War crimes:

  1. using children under the age of fifteen to take active part in the hostilities, under article 8(2)(b)(xxvi) of the Statute;
  2. directing an attack against a civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities under article 8(2)(b)(i) of the Statute;
  3. wilful killings under article 8(2)(a)(i) of the Statute;
  4. destruction of property under article 8(2)(b)(xiii) of the Statute;
  5. pillaging under article 8(2)(b)(xvi) of the Statute;
  6. sexual slavery under article 8(2)(b)(xxii) of the Statute.
  7. rape under article 8(2)(b)(xxii) of the Statute

Crimes against Humanity:

  1. murder under article 7(1)(a) of the Statute;
  2. rape under article 7(1)(g) of the Statute.
  3. sexual slavery under article 7(1)(g) of the Statute.

The trial began in November, 2009. The defense began presenting its case in April of 2011.

 

Katanga and Chui Begin Defense Case

Germain Katanga and Matthieu Ngdolo Chui began presenting their defense last week.  Katanga and Chui are alleged to have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity as the leaders of the Patriotic Resistance Force in Ituri (FPRI) in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Katanga and Chui are accused in an indictment of the following crimes:

War crimes:

  1. using children under the age of fifteen to take active part in the hostilities, under article 8(2)(b)(xxvi) of the Statute;
  2. directing an attack against a civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities under article 8(2)(b)(i) of the Statute;
  3. wilful killings under article 8(2)(a)(i) of the Statute;
  4. destruction of property under article 8(2)(b)(xiii) of the Statute;
  5. pillaging under article 8(2)(b)(xvi) of the Statute;
  6. sexual slavery under article 8(2)(b)(xxii) of the Statute.
  7. rape under article 8(2)(b)(xxii) of the Statute

Crimes against Humanity:

  1. murder under article 7(1)(a) of the Statute;
  2. rape under article 7(1)(g) of the Statute.
  3. sexual slavery under article 7(1)(g) of the Statute.

Katanga and Chui were brought before the court in February of 2008, their trial began in November of 2009.  The Katanga team has estimated that it would take 122 hours to present its defense witnesses and Chui team estimates 200 hours of court time.  According to the Katanga trial website, if the prosecution takes an equivalent amount of time to cross-examine the witnesses, then the defense case will require 644 hours of court time or about 16 months given the court’s schedule, roughly equivalent to the time the prosecution needed to present its case.

Katanga and Chui were the second case to go to trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands, following the case of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo.  The third case, Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo from the Central African Republic, started trial in November 2010, another case, against Abdallah Banda and Saleh Jerbo from Darfur has completed confirmation of charges and is now headed for trial.  The latest case, against Callixte Mbarushimana is scheduled for confirmation of charges in July.