Has the ICC finished in Ituri?

18 February 2008 by Emmanuel Chicon and Benjamin Bibas

"It is the first time that a free ex-militia leader in Ituri has been handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC)", said the Office of the Prosecutor after Mathieu Ngudjolo was arrested on February 6 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Ngudjolo, the former head of the Nationalist and Integrationist Front (FNI), led a Lendu militia opposed to Thomas Lubanga's primarily Hema Union of Congolese Patriots. Lubanga and Germain Katanga, commander of the Congolese Patriotic Resistance Forces (FRPI) which was allied with the FNI, were already in custody in the DRC before being transferred to The Hague.

Ngudjolo's arrest comes after his promotion, in October 2006, to colonel in the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC). The same year, Ngudjolo had signed an agreement with Kinshasa to disarm and integrate his forces into the national army. Protected by an amnesty from the government, he arrived in Kinshasa in November 2007 for military training alongside other reintegrated Ituri rebel leaders like Peter Karim and Cobra Matata. Crucially, though, the government amnesty excluded crimes within the ICC's jurisdiction.

Like Katanga, Ngudjolo must answer for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during an attack led by the FNI and the FRPI in which at least 200 Hema civilians were killed. The prosecutor maintains that "the morning of February 24, 2003, in collaboration with our other suspect, he ordered his men to attack and 'wipe out' the village of Bogoro". With this case, the prosecutor plans to prove the existence of a "common plan" between Katanga and Ngudjolo, who were commanding the major Lendu militias. During a closed-door hearing at The Hague on February 12, the prosecutor requested a joint trial for the two defendants.

Want to read more?

We have tailor-made memberships for students, individuals, groups of professionals and large companies and organizations. A subscription entitles you to receive the International Justice Tribune every two weeks as well as become a member of the Justice Tribune Foundation, supporting independent reporting on international justice.

Subscribe now

Related articles

article
21 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

Being the ICC's Chief Prosecutor is a delicate and politically sensitivejob.ForLuisMorenoOcampo it has been "the best job in the world." Fatou Bensouda will be taking over his office in June. She inhe

article
07 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

December 7, 2011 Ivory Coast is the latest playgroundoftheInternationalCriminal Court. This week the courtroom in The Hague became its theatre of justice. Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo proudly p

article
07 December 2011 by Richard Walker

Four Congolese witnesses testifying at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, find themselves caught in a legal wrangle, which could at once set a legal precedent and make them the last

article
07 December 2011 by Lindy Janssen

Brazil is booming. The economy is expanding and the country is getting ready to host the Football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. But the Latin American giant has not even begun dealing wi

article
07 December 2011 by Radosa Milutinovic

The primary purpose of the retrial of Ramush Haradinaj, as proclaimed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in its appeal judgement in July, should have been to hear testimonies of two "key" witnesses who proved unwilling to testify in the original trial in 2007. Almost four months into the retrial which started in mid-August, its stated aim has not yet been achieved.