ICC to resume Lubanga trial after agreement to release evidence

[JURIST] The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Tuesday lifted a suspension [press release; AFP report] imposed on the trial of Congolese ex-militia leader Thomas Lubanga [ICC materials; BBC profile] after prosecutors in the case agreed to share [filing, PDF] as-yet undisclosed evidence with the court. In June, the ICC had imposed an indefinite stay [order, PDF; JURIST report] on Lubanga's war crimes trial after accusing the prosecution of using confidentiality agreements as an excuse for withholding possibly exculpatory evidence. The court subsequently ordered Lubanga's release but later stayed [JURIST reports] that decision. After reviewing the documents, the court stated on Tuesday that it is no longer concerned that the information could be used in Lubanga's defense, and added that it would later issue a written decision to explain its reasoning in full. The court also denied [press release] a pending request for Lubanga's release in light of the developments. Lubanga's trial is now tentatively scheduled to begin on January 26, 2009.

Once the leader of the Union of Patriotic Congolese [GlobalSecurity backgrounder], Lubanga is charged with using child soldiers [JURIST report; BBC report] in his militia, which is believed to have committed large-scale human rights abuses in Congo's violent Ituri district [HRW backgrounder]. He became the first war crimes defendant to appear before the ICC after he was taken into custody [JURIST reports] in March 2006. Lubanga's long-delayed trial [JURIST report] is scheduled to be the ICC's first since its creation in 2002.



 

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