Photo: opendemocracy.net via Bing (CC).
Photo: opendemocracy.net via Bing (CC).

ICC Prosecution on Georgia investigation: The ICC staff member, Phakiso Mochochoko,  Director of the Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division of the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) at the International Criminal Court (ICC), gave an interview about the ICC’s investigation into the situation between Georgia and Russia which started in January 2016.  In the interview, Mr. Mochochoko recalled that the mandate of the OTP is limited to “the 2008 war”. He explained that after having been authorized by the Chamber, the OTP started to analyze and review materials “received during the premier examination process”, a process finalized end of 2016. He also states that currently is the “process of identifying and contacting witnesses, and interviews” and that “investigations have now intensified” and will continue until the OTP has “collected enough evidence to satisfy ourselves that we meet the legal requirements, the legal standards” required. Mr. Mochochoko further explains that once this investigation process is finalized, if it is satisfied that it has got enough evidence, the OTP will present evidence found to the judges and ask them “to issue arrest warrants against anybody that evidence points to be responsible for those crimes”. If judges, after assessment, agree that evidence passes the threshold, they will issue the arrest warrants requested. He then explained the process that will follow, stating that “the next stage then will be for that individual(s), or those individuals, to be arrested and brought to the ICC. Once they are before the ICC, the judicial process and the proceedings in court will start” with the evidence of the prosecutor, followed by the evidence of the defense and then by cross-examination and closing statements for both. The judges then go into deliberations of their own, to assess the evidence and make the decision on the guilt or otherwise of the person that we allege has committed crimes. Mr. Mochochoko also states that the ICC is investigating crimes that were allegedly committed by all sides to the armed conflict of 2008: Russia, Georgia and the Tskhinvali authorities. He then mentions that the OTP identified no suspect so far explaining that the OTP starts “off by collecting the evidence” on the basis of which OTP “comes to the conclusion of who among the three sides, who individually, should bear the criminal responsibility for the crimes that were allegedly committed during that conflict”. Mr. Mochochoko explains that the Georgian side is cooperation with the investigation while the OTP has “not received any cooperation from either Russia or South Ossetia” even though the Office continues “to make every effort to try and persuade them to cooperate with us” in the interests of the victims, of justice, and in their own interest. With respect to the opening of an ICC office in Tbilisi in January 2017, he mentioned that it will fall under the Registrar and that its main function will be “to interact and facilitate communication in Georgia with the government, civil society, institutions, and to provide information about the Court”. (Civil.ge)

 

ICC TC to take further submissions on agreed fact in Ntaganda case: On 22 June 2015, the Chamber received an agreement between the Prosecution and Defence in the Ntaganda case on the fact that “Rwanda provided weapons and ammunition to the UPC/FPLC beginning July 2002” (Agreed Fact). From June to September 2017, Mr. Ntaganda testified. On 31 August 2017, the Chamber asked the Defence to provide the position of the accused on the Agreed Fact and indicated that it would then “evaluate whether it would require further observations, including ‘whether it shall authorise the Prosecution to adduce additional evidence on this issue or any other issue flowing from the agreed facts”. On 22 September 2017, Defence filed its submissions indicating that the Agreed Fact “does not accord with Mr. Ntaganda’s knowledge, who denies having any knowledge of this fact” explaining that the Defence misunderstood his observations related to this Agreed Fact. The submission further states that the Agreed Fact is of “little relevance to the matterssince the crimes charged are allegedly committed during a conflict of a non-international character and that no other agreed fact requires modification. On 28 September 2017, the Prosecution submitted that the Defence provided inconsistent information and unconvincing explanations. It further stated that the Agreed Fact is relevant “not only to the nature of the armed conflict, but also to the common plan” and stated it will seek leave to adduce further evidence should the Chamber ‘vitiate’ the Agreed Fact. The Chamber rejected the Defence leave to reply to the Prosecution Submissions. However, it directed the Prosecution to file such request by 10 November 2017, and the Defence and the Legal representatives of victims to file any responses by 17 November 2017. (ICC Website)