ICC to rule on Congolese rebel chief's 'illegal arrest' bid

8th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Appeals judges of the International Criminal Court will rule next week in a bid by Congolese militiaman Germain Katanga to have his detention declared unlawful and his war crimes trial stopped.

Judgment will be handed down next Monday in an appeal against a court decision of November last year, the court said in a statement.

In that ruling, the court dismissed Katanga's bid on procedural grounds, finding it had been filed too late in the proceedings.

Katanga went on trial in The Hague four days after the dismissal of his objection on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity with coaccused Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui.

They stand accused of plotting to wipe out the village of Bogoro in the Democratic Republic of Congo's northeastern Ituri region, where their forces killed civilians, raped women and enslaved child soldiers.

Until the attack, Bogoro had been controlled by a rival rebel group.

Non-governmental bodies claim that inter-ethnic and militia violence in Ituri is about control of the area's rich mineral resources and has claimed 60,000 lives since 1999.

Katanga and Ngudjolo have pleaded not guilty.

In his application for a stay of proceedings, Katanga claims he was unlawfully arrested by DRC authorities in 2005. He was surrendered by the DR Congo government to the ICC in October 2007.

The trial is the ICC's second and its first for murder since opening as the world's first permanent and independent war crimes tribunal in 2002.

© 2010 AFP

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