ICC suspends trial of Congo militia leader Lubanga

[JURIST] Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Thursday suspended the trial [press release] of accused Congolese militia leader Thomas Lubanga Dyilo [case materials; JURIST news archive], stating that the trial could not proceed until the prosecution obeyed the judge's orders to disclose specific information to the defense. The ICC indicated that Lubanga could not receive a fair trial until the defense received information about the identity of a witness known as "intermediary 143." Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official website] indicated that the prosecution will appeal the decision to disclose the witness's identity, and the court is expected to consider the appeal during the stay. The court also indicated it will consider possible sanctions for the prosecution under Article 71 of the Rome Statute [text, PDF] if they do not comply with the court's ruling.

Lubanga is accused of war crimes for allegedly recruiting child soldiers to fight in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2002-2003. His trial began in January 2009 but was halted soon after when one of the child witnesses recanted his testimony [JURIST report] that Lubanga had recruited him for the militia. The prosecution concluded its case [JURIST report] last July after presenting 22 weeks of testimony. Lubanga maintains he is innocent [JURIST report] of the charges against him. He became the first war crimes defendant to appear before the ICC, formed in 2002, after he was taken into custody [JURIST report] in March 2006.

 

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