Today, Pre-Trial Chamber I opened the confirmation hearing against Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, in the presence of the two suspects and their Defence Counsels, the Prosecution and the Legal Representatives of the Victims.
The Presiding Judge, Akua Kuenyehia, opened the session and provided a quick summary to the background of the case and the principles governing the proceedings. “Everyone is presumed innocent until their guilt has been established before the Court”, stated Ms Kuenyehia. She reminded everyone present that the burden of proof lies on the Prosecutor and that the confirmation hearing is one stage of the criminal procedure before the Court which aims at ensuring that no case goes to trial unless there is sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that the person committed the crime with which he has been charged.
The court officer read out the charged as presented by the Prosecutor. Then the Prosecution made its opening statement, summarising the context of the conflict in Ituri and the crimes allegedly committed by the suspects. The legal representatives of the victims made their opening statements pointing out the importance of the participation of the victims to the proceedings, and presented the views of the victims they represent. On Monday 30 June, the two teams for the Defence will also have the opportunity to present their opening statements.
The Prosecutor charges Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui for deliberately planning and executing the attack against the village of Bogoro, on or around 24 February 2003, and for being criminally responsible for:
- four counts of crimes against humanity: murder – article 7(1)(a), inhumane acts – article 7(1)(k), and sexual slavery – article 7(1)(g), rape – article 7(1)(g)
- nine counts of war crimes: murder or wilful killing – article 8(2)(a)(i) or 8(2)(c)(i), cruel or inhuman treatment – article 8(2)(a)(ii) or 8(2)(c)(i), using children under the age of fifteen years to participate actively in hostilities – article 8(2)(b)(xxvi) or article 8(2)(e)(vii), sexual slavery – article 8(2)(b)(xxii) or article 8(2)(e)(vi), intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities – article 8(2)(b)(i) or 8(2)(e)(i), pillaging a town or place even when taken by assault – article 8(2)(b)(xvi) or article 8(2)(e)(v), rape – article 8(2)(e)(vi) or 8(2)(b)(xxii), outrage upon personal dignity - article 8(2)(c)(ii) or 8(2)(b)(xxi), destruction of property - article 8(2)(e)(xii) or 8(2)(b)(xiii).
The confirmation hearing will continue until 16 July 2008. A written decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber I shall be delivered within 60 days of the date the confirmation hearing ends.