High-profile Ntaganda trial about to kick off
By Justice Hub
After over two years in detention, Bosco Ntaganda will appear on Wednesday before the International Criminal Court. The former Congolese warlord is known as the Terminator for allegedly commanding troops responsible for the massacres of civilians.
The 44-year-old Ntaganda surrendered at the US embassy in Rwanda in March 2013. Less than a week after his surrender, Ntaganda was transferred to The Hague, where he’d previously been indicted by the International Criminal Court.
Ntaganda made his first appearance in front of the Court four days after his transfer, but it has been a lengthy process to get him in front of the judges at the ICC. His confirmation of charges hearing was held between 10 and 14 February 2014, with charges being confirmed on 9 June 2014.
Ntaganda stands accused of 13 counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity carried out in a period between 2002 and 2003 in the Ituri region in the DRC.
Up until the early days of this summer, there were serious talks of the opening statements being held in Bunia, also known as an in situ hearing. But after deliberations between the affected parties, including the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Court opted for hearings in The Hague.
However, the original opening scheduled for 7 July was postponed at the last minute. The Court announced that the new start date of the trial would be 2 September. The defence of Bosco Ntaganda, led by Canadian lawyer Stéphane Bourgon, made attempts to further postpone the opening but that was met by the deaf ears of the trial chamber.
Bosco Ntaganda will face a trial chamber composed of presiding judge Robert Fremr, Chang-ho Chung and Kuniko Ozaki. Leading the trial for the Office of the Prosecutor is senior trial lawyer Nicole Samson.
Dr. Meddy is a cartoonist who works for Cartoon Movement.