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Archive for the tag “Trial Chamber”

Ruto and Sang case: Statement, ICC spokesperson, 5 April 2016 (Youtube-Clip)

“Today, 5 April 2016, Trial Chamber V(A) of the International Criminal Court decided, by majority, Judge Herrera Carbuccia dissenting, that the case against William Samoei Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang is to be terminated. According to the majority, this decision does not preclude new prosecution in the future either at the ICC or in a national jurisdiction. This decision may be subject to appeal.
The Chamber considered the requests of Mr Ruto and Mr Sang that the Chamber find that there is ‘no case to answer’, dismiss the charges against both accused and enter a judgment of acquittal. The Chamber also considered the opposing submissions of the Prosecutor and the Legal Representative of the Victims, and received further submissions during hearings held from 12 to 15 January 2016.
On the basis of the evidence and arguments submitted to the Chamber, Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji and Judge Robert Fremr, as the majority, agreed that the charges are to be vacated and the accused are to be discharged. They provided separate reasons for this decision.
Judge Fremr found that there is no case for the accused to answer based on an assessment of the Prosecution’s evidence in accordance he considered that the Prosecution did not present sufficient evidence on which a reasonable Trial Chamber could convict the accused. Accordingly, he considered that there is no reason to call the Defence to bring their case or to prolong the proceedings any further.
Judge Eboe-Osuji, concurring with Judge Fremr’s evidential assessment, also vacated the charges and discharged the accused without prejudice to re-prosecution in the future, However, he declared a mistrial in the case, because it cannot be discounted that the weaknesses in the Prosecution case might be explained by the demonstrated incidence of tainting of the trial process by way of witness interference and political meddling that was reasonably likely to intimidate witnesses.
The majority of the Chamber, having concluded that the Prosecution did not present sufficient evidence on which a reasonable Trial Chamber could convict the accused, also concluded that a judgment of acquittal was not the right outcome, but only vacation of the charges and discharge of the accused. The majority also agreed that there is no reason to re-characterise the charges.
Judge Herrera Carbuccia appended a dissenting opinion. In her view, the charges against both accused should not be vacated in the present case. In her view, the Prosecution’s case had not ‘broken down’ and she concluded that there is sufficient evidence upon which, if accepted, a reasonable Trial Chamber could convict the accused.
Over the course of 157 trial days, the Trial Chamber heard the testimony of 30 witnesses for the Prosecution, including two expert witnesses. During that time, the Chamber admitted into evidence 335 exhibits for the Prosecution, 226 exhibits for the Ruto Defence, and 82 exhibits for the Sang Defence. The Prosecution closed its case on 10 September 2015. At the close of the Prosecution’s case, the evidentiary record contained 92 photographs, 27 maps, 77 items of audio/visual material, and over 8,000 pages worth of documentary evidence. Throughout the trial proceedings, the Trial Chamber rendered over 400 written and oral decisions” (IntlCriminalCourt, 2016)

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Press Release – Ongwen case: the confirmation of charges hearing to be held at the seat of the ICC in The Hague (28.10.2015)

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Situation: Uganda
Case: The Prosecutor v. Dominic Ongwen

Today, 28 October 2015, the Presidency of the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided that the confirmation of charges hearing in the case concerning Dominic Ongwen, scheduled for 21 January 2016, shall be held at the seat of the Court at The Hague (Netherlands).

On 10 September 2015, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II had recommended to the ICC Presidency that that holding the confirmation of charges hearing in Uganda would be desirable and in the interests of justice. Following consultations with the Ugandan authorities, the ICC Presidency received an updated assessment from the Court’s Registry on the feasibility of holding the confirmation of charges hearing in Uganda.

The ICC Presidency noted the excellent co‑operation of Uganda in assisting the Registry with the preparation of its preliminary and final assessments. The Presidency noted also that there would be a number of benefits to holding the hearing in Uganda as in principle this would contribute to a better perception of the Court and bring the proceedings closer to the communities affected by the alleged crimes. However, the Presidency noted particularly the possibility, expressed by Uganda itself, that political tensions may increase during an upcoming electoral period, especially during January 2016, which may have an adverse impact on the Court. The Presidency also noted operational limitations, in particular concerns that holding proceedings in Uganda would significantly impact the Court’s resources during its move to its permanent premises scheduled for December 2015. For these reasons, the ICC Presidency found that the potential benefits of holding the confirmation hearing in Uganda in January 2016 are outweighed by the significant risks

The confirmation of charges hearing in respect of Dominic Ongwen is scheduled to commence on 21 January 2016 and is expected to last three to no more than five working days. The confirmation of charges hearing is not a trial. It is a Pre-Trial hearing held to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to commit the case for trial before a Trial Chamber.

Decision on the recommendation to the Presidency to hold the confirmation of charges hearing in the Republic of Uganda

Background:  Dominic Ongwen was the alleged Brigade Commander of the Sinia Brigade of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). On 8 July 2005, ICC Judges issued an arrest warrant against Mr Ongwen for 3 counts of crimes against humanity (murder; enslavement; inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury and suffering) and 4 counts of war crimes (murder; cruel treatment of civilians; intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population; pillaging) allegedly committed on or about 20 May 2004 at the Lukodi IDP Camp in the Gulu District. On 16 January 2015, Dominic Ongwen was surrendered to the ICC’s custody and transferred to the ICC Detention Centre on 21 January 2015. His initial appearance before the Court took place on 26 January 2015.

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