International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

ICC Upholds Acquittal of Former Congolese Rebel Leader

Mathieu Ngudjolo, former leader of the Congolese rebel group, Nationalist and Integrationist Front, was once again acquitted on Feb. 27, 2015. He was charged with commanding a militia of fighters who in 2003 destroyed the village of Bogoro (eastern Congo) and in the process raped and hacked to death roughly 200 people including children.
The prosecutors on the case felt that there were errors on the parts of the judge’s during the first trial and that they had been denied a fair trial because, in part, they were not permitted to cross examine witnesses with Ngudjolo. The decision was ultimately upheld because the ruling judge felt that the errors did not affect the outcome of the acquittal.
The Ngudjolo case was important because it was only the second case the ICC handled and the first acquittal.
More can be read about this here.

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One response to “ICC Upholds Acquittal of Former Congolese Rebel Leader

  1. krissylik March 2, 2015 at 11:35 am

    For the most part, acquittals are a mark of a fair trial; it shows that the defense does in fact have a chance. In this case, Ngudjolo’s acquittal exemplifies the court’s organizational shortcomings. Despite Bensouda’s assurance that her office, “spared no effort in the prosecution of the case and exhausted all judicial remedies available to it.” The reasons for acquitting Ngudjolo reflect badly on the court. After his original acquittal in 2012, prosecutors provided three grounds for appeal but were rejected in a 3-2 majority. The prosecutors claimed that they were unable to cross examine Ngudjolo regarding his alleged interference with witness. The two dissenting judges claimed that “vital evidence was disregarded.” This does not reflect a fair court that allows the defense a chance, instead is shows errors made by trial judges that ultimately freed a guilty man.

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