ICC Accused, Bosco Ntaganda. Photo: heconversation.com via Bing (CC).
ICC Accused, Bosco Ntaganda. Photo: heconversation.com via Bing (CC).

ICC AC upholds TC decision to deny Ntaganda right to file ‘no case to answer’: In the case of  The Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda ongoing at the ICC, the Appeals Chamber has upheld Trial Chamber VI’s decision to deny Ntaganda the right to file a ‘no case to answer’ motion, and in doing so clarified the ICC’s position on ‘no case to answer’ proceedings. The Appeals Chamber held that, while ‘no case to answer’ procedures are not expressly addressed in the ICC’s legal texts, a “Trial Chamber may, in principle, decide to conduct or decline to conduct such a procedure in the exercise of its discretion,” though the procedure is not “necessarily required” to protect a defendant’s fair trial rights. Accordingly, the Trial Chamber in the case at hand was not obliged to provide for such a procedure; in arriving at this conclusion, the Appeals Chamber made a point of distinguishing the Court’s legal framework from those of common law jurisdictions – recalling that “the Court’s legal framework combines elements from the Common Law and Romano-Germanic legal traditions” – and emphasized that there were many other ways the Court ensures a defendant’s fair trial rights, including the obligation of the Prosecutor to “investigate incriminating and exonerating circumstances equally” and the need for a Pre-Trial Chamber to “determine whether there is sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that the persons concerned committed each of the crimes charged” prior to committing the person concerned to trial. Thus ultimately the  discretion of the Trial Chamber as to whether or not to conduct a ‘no case to answer’ procedure is not limited by internationally recognised human rights or as a result of the adoption of an adversarial trial structure. (ICC Judgment)

 

Testimony heard in Stanisic and Simatovic retrial: In the retrial of two former leaders of the Serbian State Security Forces, Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic, at the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), a protected witness has testified that Simatovic had been the “commander-in-chief” of Serbia units that committed crimes against Croats during an attack on the village of Saborsko in 1991. The witness – who was a member of the police in the breakaway Serbian Autonomous Region of Krajina at the time – also specified that defendant Stanisic had acted through his assistant, defendant Simatovic, to arm, train, and control units that expelled and killed Croat civilians from 1990 to 1992. In response, the defence team of Simatovic pointed out that the witness had no direct information, only hearsay, about who had commanded the attack on the village of Saborsko, and further highlighted that the same witness had previously said that another commander, Martic, had commanded the attack. The witness replied that both Martic and Simatovic had played a part. Stanisic and Simatovic face war crime charges for the alleged persecution, murder, deportation and forcible resettlement of Croat and Muslim civilians in Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina between 1991 and 1995. (Balkan Insight)