DRC militia leader holds out for Dutch asylum

21 April 2015 by Tjitske Lingsma, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Over two years since his initial acquittal by the International Criminal Court (ICC), former Congolese militia leader Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui is still in the Netherlands fighting another legal battle: to get asylum in the ICC’s host country.

The ICC trial chamber acquitted Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
Image caption: 
The ICC trial chamber acquitted Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)

His initial asylum request from 2012 was denied [IJT-156], but Ngudjolo was allowed to stay in the Netherlands awaiting outcome of his ICC appeals procedure. In February 2015, the appeals chamber confirmed acquittal, putting a final end to a trial that started in 2009 and saw him charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes during an attack in Bogoro village in DR Congo’s eastern Ituri district.

After the ruling, the Netherlands put him on a plane ready to take off for DR Congo, but his lawyer managed to file a new asylum claim and the ex-militia leader was escorted off the aircraft. The new claim was rejected a few days later. Last week a Dutch district court heard Ngudjolo’s appeal.

“The moment I return to the Democratic Republic of Congo, I run the risk of persecution. I will disappear without a trace or be arrested,” he told judges.

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