Breaking

Trial Chamber Seeks First Ever ICC Trial On African Soil

Fadi El Abdallah says pursuant to rule 100 of the court\'s �Rules of Procedure and Evidence\', the International Criminal Court may decide to sit in a State other than the host State, for such period or periods as may be required, to hear the case in whole or in part, where the Court considers that it would be in the interests of justice.
Victor Ochen, the CEO of African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET) had to travel all the way to The Hague, Netherlands to represent victims of LRA attrocities in Northern Uganda during the initiall appearence of Dominic Ongwen in February 2015

Audio 3

The International Criminal Court-ICC is considering holding its maiden trial on the African soil in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. Trial Chamber VI has already applied to the presidency of the International Criminal Court to have the opening statement of the trial of DR Congo Warlord Bosco Ntaganda held in Ituri region\'s capital Bunia, in Orientale Province.

It says the presidency should decide when the trial should take place on African soil.  A statement released by Fadi El Abdallah, the spokesperson and head of Public Affairs Unit of the International Criminal Court on Thursday last week, notes that, the ICC presidency is yet to make a decision on the matter, in consultation with the Trial Chamber. 

 

The ICC Presidency consists of three judges namely; Argentina born Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, Kenya\'s Joyce Aluoch and Japan\'s Kuniko Ozaki who occupy the First and Second Vice-Presidency respectively.  On June 09th last year, Pre-Trial Chamber II unanimously confirmed charges consisting of 13 counts of war crimes and 5 counts of crimes against humanity against Bosco Ntaganda and committed him for trial before Trial Chamber VI. The trial is scheduled to open on June 02nd, 2015. 

The Chamber states that the recommendation is premised on the foundation and intention of bringing the judicial work of the Court closer to the most affected communities. According to the statement, “the Chamber received a report of the ICC Registry on the feasibility and security implications of holding part of the trial in the DR Congo or some nearby location, as well as the responses of the Office of the Prosecutor, the Defense, and the Legal Representatives for Victims”.  

Fadi El Abdallah says pursuant to rule 100 of the court\'s ‘Rules of Procedure and Evidence\', the International Criminal Court may decide to sit in a State other than the host State, for such period or periods as may be required, to hear the case in whole or in part, where the Court considers that it would be in the interests of justice.

Bosco Ntaganda, the former Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Patriotic Force for the Liberation of Congo (FPLC), is accused of 13 counts of war crimes and five crimes against humanity. Ntaganda who is in the Court\'s custody is suspected to have committed the crimes in Ituri between 2002 and 2003.  Even before the application is granted by the Presidency, many Ugandans already excited by the news are asking the court to also consider trial former LRA commander Dominic Ongwen on Ugandan soil. 

Ongwen is facing three counts of war crimes and four counts of crimes against humanity he is alleged to have committed during the course of Lord\'s Resistance Army atrocities in Northern Uganda between 2002 and 2005. Komakech Walter Oyo, a policy maker in Kitgum district is one such Ugandans. He says holding a locus in a great Lakes country will make ICC more relevant to the common man who suffered the brunt of human rights abuses in the region.

//cue in “The reason why…….

Cue out “…….criminal court”//

Rwot Bongojane Jeremiah Mutu II, the chief of Patiko clan in Gulu district says staging ICC trials in African countries will bring home the relevance of the international court and international justice system. 

According to Rwot Bongojane, allowing DR Congo to host the first trial on African soil will serve to challenge African governments to put in place strong judicial institutions and structures to domestically handle crimes of international dimensions. 

//cue in “I think it will go……

Cue out “……..its relevance”//

He says it will also reiterate the commitment of the court towards prosecuting ruthless African heads of states among others.

Lyandro Komakech, a research officer at Makerere University\'s Refugee Law Project says African countries shaped the existence of ICC by ratifying the Rome Statute.

He says with at least eight situations in Africa, staging ICC trials on African soil will be the best way of sharing information collected from affected communities with the victims.

//cue in “African nations………

Cue out “…….they work with”//

The application comes as ICC Presidency assigned Botswana\'s Sanji Mmasenono Monageng to the Court\'s Appeals Division this week. 

The other African judges in the International Court are Nigeria\'s Chile Eboe-Osuji, who has been deployed in the Trial Division of the Court and DR Congo\'s Antoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua in the Pre-Trial Division.