Last week the International Criminal Court decided to update its status on a series of pending proceedings. The joinder of cases against Charles Blé Goudé and Laurent Gbagbo, the commencement of the Bosco Ntaganda trial and the evidence issue of the Bemba et al. contempt case were discussed in three separate status conferences.
A sunny The Hague saw a large contingent of Gbagbo supporters assemble outside of the Court, riot fences and all, as the former president of the Ivory Coast sought clarification on when a possible trial would kick off. Thanks to an excellent tweet stream from Dutch journalist Tjutske Lingsma, people unable to follow the unstable court stream managed to stay updated up-to-date with the proceedings.
Bosco “the Terminator” Ntaganda’s impending trial was scheduled for June but a hard push from the defence seemingly made the judges push back the start of the trial.
Unfortunately one of the key decisions still pending wasn’t decided on – the possibility of the opening statements being held in Bunia.
One of the more interesting stories that came out of the Ntaganda status conference is the seemingly hurt feelings of the Ntaganda defence lawyer, Stéphane Bourgon, over statements made by the ICC judges.
A resignation by Bourgon would mean that Bosco Ntaganda would be looking for his third lead counsel within the span of less than ten months.
The final status conference related to the case known as Bemba II, which is against Bemba and and several of his former lawyers for allegedly bribing witnesses. A case filled with unclarity, especially on how much evidence will be available, and when it will be available, has left the start of the case unclear. At least there was some clarity regarding the number of witnesses that the prosecution will call.
The prosecution stated that it has disclosed “90-95%” of the current evidence, but they’re still waiting for an unknown quantity to be handed over. This probably means that the start date of the trial is nowhere near being set.
The three status conferences last week managed to shed light on very few issues, still leaving us wondering when the Bemba II case will start, whether the Ntaganda trial opening will be held in situ or what’s next in the Blé Goudé/Gbagbo case. All in all, status still unknown.
- Will it be possible to hold the opening of the Ntaganda trial in situ?
- When do you think the Blé Goudé/Gbagbo trial will start?
- How would the departure of Ntaganda’s defence counsel affect the trial start date?
Lead image: Jean-Pierre Bemba at the ICC (Photo: Ho/ANP)
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