Opening of the Yekatom and Ngaïssona trial postponed to 16 February 2021
On 8 February 2021, Trial Chamber V postponed the opening of the trial in the case The Prosecutor v. Alfred Yekatom and Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona at the International Criminal Court (ICC) to 16 February 2021. The opening of the trial was initially scheduled for 9 February 2021 but the Chamber had to postpone due to unexpected Covid-19-related circumstances. The ICC will also explore the technical possibilities to conduct the hearings with remote participation.
Mr Yekatom and Mr Ngaïssona are accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the Central African Republic (CAR). The hearings will be held before Trial Chamber V, composed of Judge Bertram Schmitt (Presiding judge), Judge Péter Kovács, and Judge Chang-ho Chung.
During these hearings, the Prosecution, the Legal Representatives of the Victims and the Defence of Mr Ngaïssona will deliver their opening statements. The Chamber granted six hours to the Prosecution, three hours to the Legal Representatives of the Victims, to be divided between them, and three hours to the Ngaïssona Defence.
The Defence of Mr Yekatom will make its opening statements at the beginning of the presentation of its evidence. The trial is scheduled to resume on 15 March 2021, when the Prosecution will begin to present its evidence and call its witnesses before the judges.
Webstreaming of the hearing:
The hearing can be followed with a 30 minute-delay on the ICC website, in
English, French and Sango (Courtroom 1), in Sango on the
ICC YouTube Channel and in
French on the ICC Facebook accounts.
Attending the hearing:
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to the Court's premises is restricted to protect the safety and well-being of users. A limited number of public and media representatives will be granted access to the hearing at the seat of the Court, following measures against coronavirus including wearing a mask and keeping a distance of 1.5 metres.
Members of the diplomatic corps, NGOs and other members of the public can request attendance via email to: [email protected] at least 24 hours prior to the hearing. Attendees must present a valid passport or valid ID with a photo at the main entrance of the Court (at: Oude Waalsdorperweg 10, 2597 AK The Hague).
Journalists wishing to cover the hearing can request accreditation via email to: [email protected] at least 24 hours prior to the hearing. All journalists must present a valid press card, and a valid passport or valid ID with a photo, at the main entrance of the Court (at: Oude Waalsdorperweg 10, 2597 AK The Hague).
Individuals who have not received a confirmation in advance of the hearing will not be granted access to the building. Those attending are advised to arrive 20 minutes in advance before the hearing starts.
Images of the hearing will be available for download in video (MPEG-4) and audio (MPEG-3) format, and for viewing on the official ICC YouTube Channel.
Background: The arrest warrant for Alfred Yekatom was issued on 11 November 2018 and unsealed on 17 November 2018. He was surrendered to the ICC on 17 November 2018 and his initial appearance took place on 23 November 2018. The arrest warrant for Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona was issued on 7 December 2018. He was arrested by the authorities of the French Republic on 12 December 2018 and transferred to the ICC detention centre on 23 January 2019, upon completion of necessary national proceedings. His initial appearance took place on 25 January 2019. On 20 February 2019, Pre-Trial Chamber II joined the Yekatom and Ngaïssona cases.
The confirmation of charges hearing was held on 19-25 September and 11 October 2019. On 11 December 2019, Pre-Trial Chamber II partially confirmed the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity brought by the Prosecutor against Alfred Yekatom and Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona and committed them to trial. The public redacted version of the decision on the confirmation of charges was published on 20 December 2019.
Mr Yekatom and Mr Ngaïssona are in the Court's custody.
For further information on this case, please click here.
Related materials :
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]