Press Release: 3 September 2015

Opening statements in Ntaganda trial conclude at International Criminal Court; trial hearings to resume on 15 September 2015


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

On 3 September 2015, opening statements in the trial of Bosco Ntaganda before Trial Chamber VI at the International Criminal Court (ICC) concluded with the statements of the Legal Representatives of Victims Sarah Pellet and Dmytro Suprun, and of Mr Ntaganda's Defence team led by Defence Counsel Stéphane Bourgon. Bosco Ntaganda also delivered an unsworn statement to the Chamber.

The trial opened yesterday, 2 September 2015, in The Hague, Netherlands, with the statements of the Prosecution. The start of the Prosecution's presentation of evidence is scheduled on 15 September 2015.

The trial is expected to take several months. During the first part, the Office of the Prosecutor will be presenting the evidence at the Prosecution's disposal, submitting to the attention of the judges a large number of documents which it has compiled in the case, as well as video footage. The Prosecution will also call witnesses to testify. When the Prosecution has finished examining each witness, the Defence Counsel is given the opportunity to cross-examine the witness.

Once the Prosecution has presented all its evidence, which will take a few months, it is the turn of the accused, with the assistance of their Counsel, to present the defence's case. The Defence may call a number of witnesses to support their case. These will be examined by the Defence and cross-examined by the Prosecution.

2149 victims have been granted the right to participate in the trial. They are represented by legal representatives Sarah Pellet and Dmytro Suprun who will present their views and concerns in the Courtroom.

Trial Chamber VI is composed of Judge Robert Fremr, Presiding Judge, Judge Kuniko Ozaki, and Judge Chang-ho Chung. Judges will ensure that the trial is fair and expeditious and is conducted with full respect for the rights of the defence, the equality of arms and the principle of adversarial debate, having further due regard for the protection of victims and witnesses.

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.

Audio-visual materials

(Audio: Floor/French)

More information on the trial, photos, as well as audio-visual materials for download (in Floor and French language), can be found on this page.

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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