Justice has no Borders

International Criminal Bar



by Wairagala Wakabi

February 7, 2017

A former United Nations (UN) investigator in the Democratic Republic of Congo has recalled how rival sides to an ethnic conflict in that country engaged in killings and pillaging during 2002 and 2003.

“Civilians were killed by both sides. Pillaging was carried out by pretty much everybody – combats and also the population which took advantage of the situation,” said Sonia Bakar, who lead the investigations unit of the human rights section of the former UN Mission in Congo (MONUC).

Testifying at the International Criminal Court (ICC) trial of former rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda, Bakar said that up to 250 individuals were killed in various attacks by the accused’s troops on Mongbwalu and Bunia in Ituri district. Her investigations also found evidence implicating Ntaganda’s Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) fighters in at least 18 cases of rape during the attacks that took place between November 2002 and March 2003.

The attacks were made against towns mostly inhabited by members of the Lendu ethnicity, she said. “The UPC shelled Lendu villages without distinction for armed combatants and civilians. They conducted manhunts for Lendu and others considered opponents. They also conducted large-scale rape, sometimes abusing girls as young as 12,” added the witness.

Bakar, who interviewed several victims and witness of the crimes, said some of them stated that, in Mongbwalu and Bunia towns, Ntaganda directly commanded some of the operations in which civilians were brutalized. However, she said Lendu combatants and their Ugandan allies, the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF), were responsible for some of the crimes.

Bakar, who completed her testimony on February 7, was mostly cross-examined by the defense about the alleged attacks in closed session. According to her team’s investigation reports, which prosecutors tendered into evidence, there were widespread reports of crimes including massacres, rape, abduction, pillaging, and destruction in Ituri district, many of which were attributed to UPC troops.

Meanwhile, the 69th individual called to testify against Ntaganda took the stand Tuesday afternoon. In an oral ruling yesterday, judges granted Witness P857 protective measures, including the use of a pseudonym and image and voice distortion during public broadcasts of his testimony, despite criticizing the basis of the prosecution’s claim that the witness faced security risks.

Judges said the prosecution provided no “objective foundation” for alleging that the witnesses faced reprisals if he testified in public. They said the only document provided by the prosecution to support its request for protective measures was based “solely” on the witness’s own assessment.

Nonetheless, judges said they were satisfied that a risk warranting protective measures, based on an assessment by the court’s Victims and Witnesses Section (VWS) relating to Witness P857’s location and the potential of  heightened risk if his identity were known to the public.

According to the prosecution’s application for protective measures, Witness P857 is a Lendu civilian who witnessed UPC’s attacks on Kobu and Bambu towns and would testify about fatalities during the attacks.

Lawyers representing Ntaganda opposed the prosecution request for protective measures, arguing that Witness P857 did not initially express any fears and only requested for protective measures after prosecutors informed him of them.

Ntaganda is on trial over crimes committed by himself and his UPC fighters, who were predominantly of Hema ethnicity. Prosecutors say Ntaganda and the UPC targeted rival ethnic communities, notably the Lendu. Prosecutors also allege that the UPC under Ntaganda’s command used rape to persecute and terrorize civilians during the hostilities. The accused allegedly personally shot dead a priest in Mongbwalu. Ntaganda has denied all charges against him, arguing that he fought for a return of peace and resettlement of refugees.


Witness P857 continues giving evidence tomorrow morning.Source: International Justice Monitor by Wairagala Wakabi.

Cumbre Interamericana de Mujeres Abogadas - Lima del 21 al 23 Enero 2016

Cumbre Interamericana de Mujeres Abogadas - Lima del 21 al 23 Enero 2016 3 de octubre de 2015 Inscribite Aqui En las próximas décadas, podemos estar lidiando con un panorama legal que será diferente a partir de ahora. ¿Cómo estos cambios nos afectan? ¿De qué manera la ley de nuevas tecnologías, disruptivas impactan en la justicia? Con el aumento del comercio transfronterizo y la integración económica, tales como el aumento de las demandas de los clientes y los cambios en los mercados laborales afectar al sector legal? ¿Cómo pueden las leyes y marcos jurídicos seguir siendo eficaz y relevante en un contexto de evolución de las expectativas del público y las normas sociales? ¿Qué pueden hacer los participantes en un vibrante sector legal Latinoamericano de incierto futuro? El evento es de obligada asistencia para quienes buscan desarrollar su carrera, construir sus perfiles aprendiendo de mujeres líderes, influyentes y de mayor trayectoria profesional global. Además de ampliar su red de contactos entre la generación de mujeres exitosas; crear conexiones directas y la internacionalización de sus empresas. Un foro presentado por el grupo de interés de mujeres de la FIA y FPB Legal, los organizadores han trabajado con un consejo asesor de primer nivel para desarrollar el programa, que cuenta con una serie de innovadores e inspiradores foros, actividad interactiva y premiación a destacadas abogadas del año.

SEMINAR “Safeguarding Human Rights while Countering Terrorism and Facing Mass Immigration in EU”

A major problem as in the recent years the measures adopted by states to counter terrorism have themselves often posed serious challenges to human rights and the rule of law, as well as the “mass immigration” that EU is facing.

IX Jornada de Justícia Penal Internacional i Universal

Prevenció i lluita contra delictes d’odi i totes les formes d’intolerància

Abusos del pasado, verdad, justicia, memoria


52a Conferencia FIA


Defence Office of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Dear Madam, Sir,

The Defence Office of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon thank you again for your participation in the Fourth International Meetings of Defence Offices which were held in London, on 25th and 26th of November 2016.

Please find attached the Summary report of the Meetings in French, English and Arabic. 

You will also find attached the questionnaire on Defence Investigations, which we thank you for completing in the language of your choice, and sending back to us, if you have not already done so. As Johann said during the Meetings,your answers will be very useful in that they will illustrate the Guide to Investigations with concrete examples from you experience.

Thank you again for your participation and we hope to see you again in Nuremberg for the Fifth Meetings in 2017.

Kind regards,