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Katanga case: Appeals Chamber confirms Trial Chamber II decision on potential modification of the form of responsibility


Situation: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Case: The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga

Today, 27 March 2013, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) dismissed by majority, Judge Cuno Tarfusser dissenting, the appeal raised by the Defence of Germain Katanga against the decision of Trial Chamber II giving notice of a possible change in the legal characterization of the form of responsibility with which Mr Katanga is charged.

On the basis of the decision confirming the charges, Mr Katanga is allegedly responsible for committing  war crimes and crimes against humanity jointly through another person (article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute). On 21 November 2012, Trial Chamber II gave notice to the parties and participants of a possible re-characterisation of the form of responsibility to article 25(3)(d) of the Rome Statute (contributing in any other way to the commission of the crimes by a group of persons acting with a common purpose). On 10 January 2013, the Defence appealed this decision.

Today, Judge Sang-Hyun Song - Presiding Judge on this appeal - read a summary of the Appeals Judgment in open session. The Appeals Chamber considers that the timing of the Trial Chamber II decision, which was issued at the deliberation stage, and the scope of the envisaged change in the legal characterisation  are in conformity with regulation 55 (2) of the Regulations of the Court. The Appeals Chamber also finds that the Trial Chamber’s decision does not violate the rights of Mr Katanga to a fair trial. However, the Appeals Chamber cannot determine conclusively now whether the trial as a whole will remain fair as this will depend to a large extent upon how the Trial Chamber conducts the further proceedings and, in particular, on the measures it will take to protect Mr Katanga’s rights.

The Appeals Chamber also emphasises that, considering the advanced stage of the proceedings, the Trial Chamber will need to be particularly vigilant in ensuring Mr Katanga’s right to be tried without undue delay. The proceedings before Trial Chamber II will continue in the way indicated by Trial Chamber II in its notice of the potential change in the legal characterisation of the facts.

Germain Katanga, Congolese national, is charged with three counts of crimes against humanity and seven counts of war crimes allegedly committed, on 24 February 2003, during the attack against the Bogoro village. It is alleged that this attack was carried out by combatants led by Germain Katanga, that it was part of a widespread attack directed not only against a military camp located in Bogoro village but also against the civilian population of the village. His trial started on 24 November 2009.

For further information on the case, click here.

Decision on the implementation of regulation 55 of the Regulations of the Court and severing the charges against the accused persons
ICC-01/04-01/07-3319 Original: Français | Translation: English

For further information, please contact Sonia Robla, Chief of Public Information Section, International Criminal Court, by telephone at: +31 (0)70 515-8089 or 31 (0)6 46448726 or by e-mail at: [email protected].

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