ICC Appeals Chamber dismisses Katanga appeal 25 Sep 2009
The Appeals Chamber at the ICC has dismissed an appeal by Germain Katanga against the admissibility of the case, clearing the way for the trial to commence in November.

Germain KatangaAt an open hearing on 25 September 2009, the Appeals Chamber at the International Criminal Court (ICC) dismissed the appeal of Germain Katanga challenging a Trial Chamber decision declaring the case against him admissible. In upholding the decision on the admissibility of the case, the Appeals Chamber has cleared the way for the case against Katanga and his co-accused, Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, to commence in November.

The Judgment of the Appeals Chamber follows the appeal by Katanga’s Defence against the decision by Trial Chamber II on 12 June 2009 to reject a motion challenging the admissibility of the case under the ‘complementarity’ principle of the Rome Statue. The Trial Chamber had found no grounds to support the Defence submission that this founding principle of the Court’s statute had been violated, relying in part on the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) declared unwillingness to prosecute the case.

In its Judgment, the Appeals Chamber rejected each of the five grounds of Katanga’s appeal, including the challenge based on the ‘complementarity’ principle. The Court stated that at the time of the admissibility proceedings there were no domestic proceedings ongoing against the Accused and that the DRC had made clear that it wished for the ICC to prosecute the case. The Chamber further considered that the principle strikes a balance between safeguarding the primacy of domestic proceedings and the purpose of the ICC to “put an end to impunity”, stating that the ICC must be able to intervene  when states are “unwilling or unable” to do so themselves.

The Chamber also rejected the Defence’s appeal against the opinion of the Trial Chamber that a State can decide its unwillingness to prosecute “without the need to justify or explain its unwillingness”. The Court determined that this would not lead to an accused being deprived of the right to challenge the case based on this ground, as the Defence had argued, since the admissibility of a case is determined by the Court alone.

The Chamber also declined to consider the merits of the first two grounds of appeal.

Commencement of trial

Germain Katanga, also known as ‘Simba’, is the former commander of the Force de résistance patriotique en Ituri (FRPI) and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui is the former leader of the Front des nationalistes et intégrationnistes (FNI). The accused were transferred to the Court on 17 October 2007 and 6 February 2008 respectively, with their cases joined on 11 March 2008. Both accused are charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity for alleged crimes committed in the Ituri region of eastern DRC.

The case against the two accused is scheduled to commence on 24 November 2009.

Germain Katanga

Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui

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Court documents / Documents juridiques

Appeal Judgment
25 September 2009

Warrant of arrest

Mandat d'arrêt
2 July 2007

Related new items / Informations complémentaires

ICC: No violation of ‘complementarity’ in Katanga case

Pas de violation du principe de complémentarité dans l'affaire Katanga
12 June 2009