Germain Katanga

Germain Katanga, alias “Simba”, was the highest ranking commander of Patriotic Resistance Force in Ituri (Force de résistance patriotique en Ituri - FRPI) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He is charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the basis of individual criminal responsibility. The warrant of arrest for Germain Katanga lists nine counts including, inter alia, murder, inhuman or cruel treatment, sexual slavery, and using children under the age of fifteen years to participate actively in hostilities. These atrocities were committed against civilians in the context of an armed conflict in the territory of Ituri between January and March 2003. The arrest warrant was issued under seal by the Pre-Trial Chamber on 2 July 2007 and unsealed on 18 October 2007.

Germain Katanga was surrendered to the Court on 17 October 2007 by the authorities of the DRC and transferred to The Hague the following day. Katanga is the second accused, after Thomas Lubanga, to face charges before the ICC. His case arises from the situation in the DRC, which has been under investigation by the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC since 1 July 2002.

On 10 March 2008, Pre-Trial Chamber I joined Katanga's case with that of Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, confirming the charges on 26 September 2008 in the case of The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui. The trial of the two accused began on 24 November 2009.

On 30 June 2009, Katanga filed a motion requesting a declaration for unlawful detention and a stay of the proceedings against him for his alleged unlawful arrest and detention in the Democratic Republic of the Congo prior to his surrender to the Court. On 20 November 2009, Trial Chamber II rejected the motion.

On 12 July 2010 the Appeals Chamber upheld the Trial Chamber decision to dismiss a Defence motion to order a stay of proceedings.

On 14 March 2011, the Defence of Mr. Katanga filed a request for defence witnesses to visit Germain Katanga in prison, after completion of their testimony. On 18 March 2011 the Office of the Prosecutor rejected the request.

All cases related to the situation in DRC

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Press Release: 12.07.2010


Appeals Chamber confirms the decision rejecting the motion of Germain Katanga for stay of proceedings

ICC-CPI-20100712-PR556


Today, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court, decided by majority, with Judge Kourula and Judge Trendafilova dissenting, to dismiss the appeal of Germain Katanga against the decision entitled “Decision on the Motion of the Defence for Germain Katanga for a Declaration on Unlawful Detention and Stay of Proceedings” of Trial Chamber II of 20 November 2009. Judge Nsereko, presiding judge in this appeal, read a summary of the judgment in open session.

On 30 June 2009, Mr Katanga filed a motion requesting a declaration for unlawful detention and a stay of the proceedings against him for his alleged unlawful arrest and detention in the Democratic Republic of the Congo prior to his surrender to the Court. On 20 November 2009, Trial Chamber II rejected the Defence motion without considering its merits, finding that it was submitted too late, inter alia because the motion was filed seven months after the Trial Chamber’s invitation to the parties to submit any relevant issues on which they sought a ruling of the Chamber.

The Appeals Chamber observed that the Court’s legal instruments underscore the need for diligence and expeditiousness in the proceedings and agreed with the Trial Chamber’s determination that the parties must act “in a timely manner” or within a reasonable time, in keeping with considerations of efficiency and judicial economy. The Appeals Chamber found that the decision of the Trial Chamber did not infringe Mr Katanga’s right to a fair hearing and that he had been given adequate notice and opportunity to raise the issue of his alleged unlawful pre-surrender arrest and detention.

The dissent considered that the Trial Chamber erred when it decided that the Defence motion was inadmissible for having been filed at too advanced a stage in the proceedings. Accordingly, the dissent concluded that the Trial Chamber’s decision should be reversed and remitted to the Trial Chamber for a consideration on the merits.

In reaching this conclusion, Judge Erkki Kourula and Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova found that the Trial Chamber erred in establishing, for the first time in its decision, requirements applicable to the filing of the Defence motion and applying them retroactively to the detriment of Mr Katanga. They also found that the Trial Chamber erred in the exercise of its discretion when it failed to properly balance the factors in article 64 (2) of the Statute, placing too much emphasis on expeditiousness at the expense of the rights of Mr Katanga.

For further information please contact Sonia Robla, Chief of the Public Information and Documentation Section at +31 (0)70 515-8089 or +31 (0) 6 46 44 87 26 or at sonia.robla@icc-cpi.int