By Susan Kendi
Lawyers for the parties and participating victims in the Bosco Ntaganda trial will make their closing statements before the Trial Chamber VI of the International Criminal Court for three consecutive days.
Trial Chamber VI comprising presiding Judge Robert Fremr and judges Chang-ho Chung and Kuniko Ozaki convened a status conference on December 5, 2017 to hear submissions on the length and the timing of the closing statements. Prosecutors, defence lawyers and the legal representatives of the victims will make statements on August 28, 29 and 30, 2018.
The prosecution requested four hours, while Ntaganda’s lawyers asked for eight hours each “for their respective closing statements” and the Legal Representative of the former child soldiers (LRV1) and the Legal Representative of the Victims of the attacks (LRV2) requested an hour each.
Noting that the closing statements would be scheduled ‘approximately two weeks after the filing of the Defence’s reply’, the judges said they would ‘determine at a later stage the time allotted to the parties and the participants for the presentation of their respective closing statements’.
On May 9, 2018, the Registry notified the relevant parties that the court planned to slate the closing statements for August 28, 29 and 30, 3018.
Parties and participants in the Ntaganda case have been directed to make their submissions on the time allocated to them, the number of person who will speak and any technical equipment needed not later than August 14, 2018.
If Ntaganda plans to “make an unsworn statement in the context of the closing statements,” the Defence is directed to inform the Chamber within the same time frame. Submission by email is allowed for both purposes.
The judges may intervene at any time during the ‘parties’ or ‘participants’ closing statements whenever they need clarification. They also foresee the possibility that they may communicate some questions to the parties and participants ahead of the hearing.
Ntaganda is a former rebel commander and alleged Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Force Patriotiques Pour la Liberation du Congo (FPLC), Patriotic Force for the Liberation of Congo is facing 13 counts of war crimes and five charges of crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Ituri, Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002 to 2003.
Ntaganda’s trial began on September 2, 2015 and he is in the court’s custody.