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12 Jun 2009 11:35
The International Criminal Court (ICC) dismissed a bid on Friday by Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) ex-militia chief Germain Katanga for his war crimes trial to be thrown out.
Judge Bruno Cotte dismissed an argument by Katanga that the case was inadmissible on the basis that legal proceedings had been brought against him before courts in his home country.
His lawyers had argued the ICC could only intervene if national courts were unwilling or unable to investigate and try war crimes suspects.
“The Democratic Republic of Congo has quite clearly decided to allow the court to institute proceedings against Germain Katanga and to put Germain Katanga on trial,” said Cotte.
“The chamber dismisses the challenge to admissibility and hereby declares that the case against Germain Katanga is admissible before the court.”
Katanga (31) is charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity, including using child soldiers, murder, rape and sexual slavery.
He and co-accused Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui (38) are scheduled to go on trial before the ICC on September 24.
Charges against the men arise from a joint attack on the village of Bogoro, in the country’s mineral-rich Ituri region in February 2003, by the two militias of which they were allegedly the leaders.
The ICC has issued four arrest warrants for war crimes in the DRC.
The other two accused men are ex-militia chief Thomas Lubanga, on trial in The Hague, and another warlord, Bosco Ntaganda, who is still at large.—Sapa-AFP
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