ICC Acquitted Defendant Ngudjolo Deported to the DRC

Mathieu Ngudjolo

Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui ©ANP

Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, the first defendant to be acquitted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been deported to Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), on Monday 11 May. Media confirmed that Ngudjolo arrived back in the DRC on Monday evening where he was escorted by five European police officers before leaving the Kinshasa airport surrounded by friends and family.

In a secret video, shared online last week, Ngudjolo spoke out about death threats and his concerns about being killed or receiving the death penalty when expelled to the DRC. He fears his live is in danger in the DRC as he has made incriminating statements about the current leaders of the country during his trial at the ICC.

Human Rights Watch also expressed concern about Ngudjolo’s return and said that “we and others will be looking to the Congolese authorities to ensure Mathieu Ngudjolo’s safety and security once he is back in Congo”.

The 44-year-old former leader of the Nationalist Integrationlist Front (FNI) militia was acquitted of the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity by Trial Chamber II of the ICC on 18 December 2012, who ordered his immediate release. Straight after his acquittal he applied for asylum in the Netherlands which was denied by the Dutch authorities, but he was allowed to stay in the Netherlands pending his appeal.

On 27 February 2015, the ICC Appeal Chamber confirmed the decision of the Trial Chamber acquitting Ngudjolo Chui of charges of crimes against humanity, putting a final end to the trial that had started in 2009. After the ruling, the Dutch authorities immediately arrested Ngudjolo and transferred him to Schiphol airport to return him to the DRC that same day. His lawyer filed a new asylum claim at the last minute, and Ngudjolo was escorted off the aircraft. The new claim was rejected a few days later.

Unconfirmed sources say that after his arrival in Kinshasa yesterday, Ngudjolo subsequently fled to an unknown destination. According to the president of the Congolese Association for access to justice (l’Association congolaise pour l’accès à la justice), who is also Ngudjolo’s lawyer, he has currently no information about the whereabouts of his client.

ICTY Rejects Ratko Mladić’s Request for Acquittal

In an oral decision delivered yesterday, the judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) rejected Ratko Mladić‘s request for acquittal.

The request was made under Rule 98bis of the Rules of Procedure of the ICTY, which allows the judges to enter a judgment of acquittal after the close of the Prosecution case where “there is no evidence capable of supporting a conviction.”

Ratko-Mladic-007

Ratko Mladić (c) The Telegraph

Mladić, the former Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS), is charged with several counts of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes alleged to have been carried out in the course of a joint criminal enterprise to remove Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Muslims from the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is allegedly responsible for the devastating incidents that occurred at Srebrenica in July 1995, where it is estimated several thousand Bosnian Muslim men were executed in the course of a single day.

In his request for acquittal, he argued that the Prosecution had failed to prove (a) the requisite genocidal intent; (b) sufficient control over non-VRS elements which perpetrated some of the crimes with which Mladić is charged; and (c) specific incidents with which he is charged. The prosecution, and eventually the judges, dismissed the defence arguments.

Mladić’s trial commenced on 16 May 2012, 17 years after he was first indicted. The Prosecution closed their case on 26 February 2014; the request for acquittal has come at the half-way point with the Defence due to open their case in May 2014.