Submit this form
Home News Videos Music Photos Facebook Twitter Newsletter Podcasts Mobile RSS
ICC defers militia leader's hearing


THE HAGUE, 1 Jun 2006 (IRIN) - The International Criminal Court will hold the confirmation hearing in the case against former Congolese militia leader Thomas Lubanga on 28 September, three month later than the initial date set, ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has said.

"I have requested this postponement because of the resurgence of violence in Ituri which poses the problem of the protection of witnesses," Moreno-Ocampo said on Wednesday during a media briefing at the court's headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands.

"Witnesses and victims [of violence] are part of the trial; they have a role to play and that is why we have to protect them," Moreno-Ocampo added.

Lubanga is leader of the Union des Patriotes Congolais (UPC), which is mostly a Hema ethnic movement, and has been in the court's custody in The Hague since March. He faces war crimes charges including enlisting and conscripting children and actively using them in hostilities.

The procedural phase of his case was initially set to end with a confirmation hearing on 27 June.

The renewed fighting is in the northeaster district of Ituri, the base of Lubanga's former militia group, the UPC, now a political party. The fighting is between the Congolese army, which is backed by the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and militiamen who have refused to disarm and join a demobilisation and reintegration programme.

During one operation on 28 May, an undetermined number of civilians were displaced in Libi, a commercial centre north of Bunia, the district's capital. Operation Ituri Element III was an attempt to disarm militia loyal to the Front des Nationalistes et Intégrationnistes, a rebel movement of the Lendu people, which is a rival to Lubanga's UPC.

Moreno-Ocampo said the court was investigating all the groups in Ituri but was not yet ready to issue a second arrest warrant.

Meanwhile, Moreno-Ocampo said he hoped that the governments of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan and Uganda would honour their commitment to help arrest Joseph Kony, the leader of Uganda's Lord Resistance Army (LRA) that has a base in northeastern DRC. An international arrest warrant for Kony and four of his aids was issued in October 2005.

News agencies reported recently that Kony had accepted to hold peace negotiations with the government of Uganda; and made the offer in early May during a meeting senior Sudanese official in southern Sudan.

Moreno-Ocampo said the Kony meeting could not be interpreted as a sign that Sudan would not cooperate in arresting the LRA leader. In 2005, Sudan signed an agreement with Moreno-Ocampo's office to implement the arrest warrants against Kony and his aides.

"I am happy that the arrest warrants are producing positive changes as violence in northern Uganda has drastically diminished," Moreno-Ocampo said.

However, he said Kony could still reorganise his fighters any time.

Regarding the situation in the war-torn Darfur region of western Sudan, Moreno-Ocampo said a 32-man team was investigating war crimes from the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, and 14 other countries.

"At this moment no one can investigate in Darfur without exposing witnesses," Moreno-Ocampo said.

Reacting to criticism by Dutch International Cooperation Minister Agnes van Ardenne that the court's work in Darfur was disappointing as the investigation phase was taking too long, Moreno-Ocampo said, "I understand that disappointment but as a prosecutor, I have to be patient and go on with collecting evidence."

Regarding an application filed by the Central African Republic against its former President Ange-Felix Patasse and a DRC vice-president and presidential candidate, Jean Pierre Bemba, Ocampo-Moreno said he was still monitoring the situation.

@Congoplanet |

Related articles

  1. 'Deadly environment' plus 'political and social' obstacles hinder Ebola fight, Security Council hears (July 24, 2019)
  2. Ebola outbreak declared an international Public Health Emergency (July 17, 2019)
  3. At least 30 dead after massacres in Ituri (March 2, 2018)
  4. ICC Confirms 14-Year Sentence Against Thomas Lubanga (December 1, 2014)
  5. ICC Case Against Bemba Wrapping Up as Another Opens (November 12, 2014)
  6. ICC sentences Germain Katanga to 12 years (May 23, 2014)
  7. Kerry in DR Congo for Security Talks (May 3, 2014)
  8. Security Council extends UN mission, intervention force in DR Congo for one year (March 28, 2014)
  9. U.S. sending more personnel to Uganda to hunt LRA leader Joseph Kony (March 24, 2014)
  10. ICC finds Germain Katanga guilty of war crimes and crime against humanity (March 7, 2014)
  11. Bosco Ntaganda Attacked Civilians on Ethnic Grounds, ICC Prosecutor Says (February 10, 2014)
  12. Kabila Congratulates Congo Army for Defeating M23 Rebels (October 30, 2013)
  13. Rebel Leader Bosco Ntaganda Makes First Appearence Before the ICC (March 26, 2013)
  14. Bosco Ntaganda in the International Criminal Court's custody (March 22, 2013)
  15. Regional Leaders Sign DR Congo Peace Deal (February 24, 2013)
  16. International Criminal Court Acquits Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui (December 18, 2012)
  17. ICC Prosecutor Seeks 30 Years for Thomas Lubanga (June 13, 2012)
  18. ICC Prosecutor Seeks New Charges Against Ntaganda, FDLR Leader (May 14, 2012)
  19. Kabila's Position on The Arrest of Ntaganda 'Has Not Changed' (April 13, 2012)
  20. DR Congo Government Warns Bosco Ntaganda He May Face Justice (April 6, 2012)
  21. Kony 2012 video director detained (March 16, 2012)
  22. Thomas Lubanga found guilty of using child soldiers (March 14, 2012)
  23. LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony target of viral campaign video (March 7, 2012)
  24. UN, AU vow to eradicate Ugandan rebel group LRA in 2012 (January 5, 2012)
  25. Obama Sends Troops to Help Fight the LRA (October 14, 2011)
  26. Jean-Pierre Bemba Could Be Kingmaker in DR Congo Presidential Election (September 30, 2011)
  27. UN envoy tells Security Council of improving security, remaining threats (June 9, 2011)
  28. Rights Groups: Strengthen Civilian Protection Before Elections (June 9, 2011)
  29. Opposition Party Ousts Leader Ahead of Elections (April 21, 2011)
  30. Militiamen Sent to Testify in Warlords Trials at ICC (March 28, 2011)

Live TV Congo Radio en ligne Radio
Available on App Store
Get it on Google Play

Contact Us | About Us | Édition en Français | French Edition

© All rights reserved.