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ICC Trial Chamber VI postpones opening of the trial in the Ntaganda case to 2 September 2015


Situation: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Case: The Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda

Today, 3 July 2015, Trial Chamber VI of the International Criminal Court (ICC), postponed the opening statements in the Ntaganda case, initially scheduled from 7 to 9 July 2015 to 2 to 4 September 2015. In addition, the Chamber ruled that the testimony of the first witness would start on 15 September 2015, instead of 24 August 2015. This decision was announced at a status conference held at the Court to discuss trial preparations.

On 29 June 2015, the Defence Counsel for Mr Ntaganda filed a motion for the adjournment of the proceedings until the necessary conditions were in place to ensure a fair trial. The Defence raised various issues that prevented it, in the Defence's view, from being ready to start the trial proceedings. The Prosecution responded to the request on 30 June 2015 and did not oppose a reasonable adjournment to allow the Defence additional time. 

In deciding on the Defence's motion, the Chamber took into account that the Prosecution did not oppose the Defence's request, and had regard to its obligations under the Rome Statute to ensure the fairness of the trial and the rights of the accused. The Chamber partially granted the Defence's request and postponed the trial, including the opening statements, for a limited period.

Background: Bosco Ntaganda, former Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Force Patriotiques pour la Libération du Congo [Patriotic Force for the Liberation of Congo] (FPLC), is accused of 13 counts of war crimes (murder and attempted murder; attacking civilians; rape; sexual slavery of civilians; pillaging; displacement of civilians; attacking protected objects; destroying the enemy's property; and rape, sexual slavery, enlistment and conscription of child soldiers under the age of fifteen years and using them to participate actively in hostilities) and five crimes against humanity (murder and attempted murder; rape; sexual slavery; persecution; forcible transfer of population) allegedly committed in Ituri, DRC, in 2002-2003. Mr Ntaganda is in the Court's custody.

For further information, please contact Fadi El Abdallah, Spokesperson and Head of Public Affairs Unit, International Criminal Court, by telephone at: +31 (0)70 515-9152 or +31 (0)6 46448938 or by e-mail at: [email protected].

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