ICC: Ntaganda goes on hunger strike
Former Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda on trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) has gone on hunger strike to protest long-standing restrictions on his phone calls and visitors to the detention unit, his lawyer said Friday.
“I can confirm that Bosco Ntaganda is no longer attending hearings and stopped eating as of September 7, ” lawyer Stephane Bourgon said. Ntaganda is charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity for attacks by his troops on non-Hema civilians in the northern Ituri province of the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002 and 2003 [blog].
According to Bourgon the trigger for this “serious event” was the August 18 decision by ICC judges to uphold restrictions on Ntaganda's phone calls and visitors to the detention unit. The restrictions have been in place since 2014 after the trial chamber concluded there was reason to believe he was trying to influence witnesses in his case.
“This has been an ongoing issue and (Ntaganda) does not take this action lightly we are not trying to blackmail (the court). He situation is that my client would rather be dead than where he is now,” Bourgon said.