ICC confirms acquittal of Congolese warlord Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui

The International Criminal Court Appeals chamber confirms the acquittal of Congolese warlord Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui.

THE HAGUE, THE NETHERLANDS (FEBRUARY 27, 2015) (REUTERS) – The Appeals chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday (February 27) confirmed the acquittal of Congolese warlord Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, by a short majority of three against two dissenting judges.

In December 2012, the ICC found Ngudjolo not guilty of ordering killings during a war in Ituri district in 2003. Ngudjolo was accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including overseeing killings, rape and pillage.

Presiding judge Monageng said in the courtroom that the majority of the judges, including herself, judge Sang-Hyun Song and judge Erkki Kourula, rejected the Prosecutor’s appeal on all grounds, while the two dissenting judges, Cuno Tarfusser and Ekatarina Trendafilova adopted a joint dissenting opinion, saying they would have preferred a new trial before a different set of judges.

“In sum, the Appeals Chamber, by majority, judge Tarfusser and judge Trendafilova dissenting, confirms the acquittal decision and rejects the appeal. I shall now very briefly summarise the dissenting opinion of judges Tarfusser and Trendafilova: ‘It is our strong believe that the majority should have amended or reversed the trial chamber’s decision and ordered a new trial before a different chamber’,” judge Monageng said.

Prosecutors failed to prove that Ngudjolo ordered fighters to block roads around the village of Bogoro in Ituri province in north-eastern Congo in February 2003 in order to kill civilians attempting to flee.

The violence in Ituri was a localized ethnic clash over land and resources among myriad conflicts that spun out of the wider war in Democratic Republic of Congo from 1998 to 2003.