DR Congo:The Trial of Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui

Germain Katanga, who faces war crime charges

Germain Katanga, who faces war crime charges

Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, who faces war crime charges

Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, who faces war crime charges

The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui

The trial in the case of The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui will start on Tuesday, 24 November, 2009, at 9:30 a.m. (The Hague local time) (hearing schedule). The hearings will be conducted before Trial Chamber II until 11 December, 2009 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. After the judicial recess, the hearings will resume on 26 January, 2010.

Background information on the case

On 17 October, 2007, Germain Katanga, (a DRC national), alleged commander of the Force de résistance patriotique en Ituri [Patriotic Resistance Force in Ituri] (FRPI), was arrested and transferred to the Court pursuant to a warrant of arrest issued under seal on 2 July, 2007, by Pre-Trial Chamber I at the request of the Prosecutor. On 6 February, 2008, Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui (also a DRC national), alleged leader of the Front des nationalistes et intégrationnistes [Nationalist Integrationist Front] (FNI), was arrested and transferred to the Court pursuant to a warrant of arrest issued under seal on 6 July, 2007, by the same Chamber at the request of the Prosecutor.

On 11 March, 2008, Pre-Trial Chamber I decided to join the two cases and, on 26 September, 2008, it confirmed charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity against Katanga and Ngudjolo Chui. On 24 October, 2008, the Presidency of the Court constituted Trial Chamber II and referred the case of The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui to that Chamber, which has since convened status conferences and held a number of hearings. Trial Chamber II set the date for the commencement of the trial as Tuesday, 24 November, 2009.

The case of The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui is the second case in the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo after that of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, whose trial commenced on 26 January, 2009, before Trial Chamber I. A forth warrant of arrest was issued by the Pre-Trial Chamber I on 22 August, 2006, against Bosco Ntaganda, who remains at large.

Bosco ntaganda

Bosco ntaganda: Ituri and KIvu War Criminal


Bosco Ntaganda is accused of several war crimes and crimes against humanity including: the massacres of 150 people in the town of Kiwanja in 2008 in his duties as military chief of staff of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), torturing and killing of hundreds of civilians of Lendu and Ngiti ethnicity between August 2002 and March 2003 when he was chief of military operations of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), slaughtering of at least 800 civilians on ethnic grounds at Mongbwalu, including the first priest killed in the Ituri conflict, Abbe Boniface Bwanalonga, killing of a Kenyan UN peacekeeper in January 2004 and kidnapping a Moroccan peacekeeper later that year, and recruiting child soldiers in the eastern region of Ituri.

One thought on “DR Congo:The Trial of Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui

  1. THE HAGUE, Netherlands November 24, 2009, 07:22 am ET

    Two Congolese militia leaders sent child soldiers and other fighters to wipe out a village in a revenge attack that left more than 200 men, women and children dead, a prosecutor told judges Tuesday at the International Criminal Court.

    “Some were shot in their sleep, some cut up with machetes to preserve bullets. Others were burned alive after their houses were set on fire,” Luis Moreno Ocampo said in his opening statement.

    The two alleged commanders, Germain Katanga, 31, and Mathieu Ngudjolo, 39, both pleaded not guilty to three crimes against humanity and seven war crimes, including murder, rape, sexual enslavement and pillage.

    It was only the tribunal’s second trial since it began operations in 2002. The first case, of alleged Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga who is accused of recruiting child soldiers, started in January.

    Prosecutors say Katanga and Ngudjolo led two mobs of child soldiers and older fighters armed with automatic weapons, machetes and spears to destroy the village of Bogoro in Congo’s mineral-rich Ituri province on Feb. 24, 2003. Many of the victims were hacked to death.

    The village was strategically located on a crossroad and was the base of a rival militia known as the UPC.

    Moreno Ocampo said the attack went far beyond a legitimate military campaign to become revenge for earlier UPC attacks.

    “The plan was to wipe out Bogoro,” he said. “Destroy not only the UPC camp but the whole village.”

    Katanga and Ngudjolo both sat impassively as Moreno Ocampo outlined his case, accusing their soldiers also of raping women and forcing others into marriage or sexual slavery.

    Moreno Ocampo quoted Katanga as boasting after the attack that “nothing was spared. Absolutely nothing. Chickens, goats, everything … was wiped out.”

    Lawyers for some 345 victims — including some of the child soldiers forced to carry out the massacre — also are taking part in the trial.

    “Their childhood was brutally interrupted and they have been in hell from one day to the next,” said Belgian attorney Jean-Louis Gilissen, who is representing child soldiers. He said the children were abducted and ordered to fight “as vanguard troops for the butchery of Bogoro.”

    Another victims’ lawyer, Fidel Nsita Luvengika, said establishing the truth will allow his clients to mourn slain family members.

    “They don’t know what happened to their families. They don’t know how they were killed or whether they were buried,” he said.

    Prosecutors plan to call 26 witnesses to support their case. In an indication of the ongoing climate of fear in Ituri, 21 of them will testify with their identities shielded from the public.

    Among other cases at the world’s first permanent war crimes court, former Congolese Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba is in custody and is scheduled to go on trial next year for alleged crimes in the Central African Republic.

Comments are closed.