By Justice Hub
Ex-Congolese military leader Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui has already been acquitted. Tomorrow, the ICC Appeals Chamber will deliver its judgment on the appeal submitted by the prosecutor.
Q: What’s the case about ?
A humanitarian disaster on 24 February 2003 in the village of Bogoro in Ituri, North Eastern Congo. As a militia leader, Ngudjolo Chui was allegedly responsible for murder, attacking civilians, using child soldiers under the age of 15, destruction of property, pillaging, rape and sexual slavery.
Q: Who’s on trial ?
Ngudjolo Chui was the commander of the Lendu militia group FNI, the National Integrationist Front in Ituri. He fought against the Hema tribe during the Ituri conflict. During the attack in Bogoro, victims were burnt alive, babies were smashed against walls and women were abducted as sex slaves.
Q: How unique is this trial?
Ngudjolo Chui was the first person to be acquitted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on 18 December 2012. According to the judges, it wasn’t proven beyond reasonable doubt that he was the FNI commander during the attack in Bogoro.
The evidence of the witnesses was “contradictory and hazy”. Still the Chamber did not necessarily find him innocent. The ICC prosecutor appealed the verdict.
Q: What are his chances ?
The ICC assumes innocence until proven otherwise. The outcome of the appeal is unclear, but the charges of the prosecutor did not seem to match with Ngudjolo’s involvement in the DRC conflict. Ngudjolo was established as being the FNI leader after the attack on Bogoro, not during the attack.
Q: If acquitted, where will he go?
He asked for asylum in the Netherlands, the ICC host country. Ngudjolo argues that his life would be in danger if he were repatriated to the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo).
The Dutch immigration service is not happy with his request. He might be refused asylum. The question remains whether the Netherlands can send him to the DRC if his life is indeed in danger.
Dr Meddy is a Tanzanian cartoonist. who works for Cartoon Movement.