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11 February 2008

Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui arrested by the International Criminal Court (ICC): the ICC Prosecutor must extend his investigations

FIDH and its three member organisations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Association Africaine des droits de l’Homme (ASADHO), Ligue des électeurs and Groupe Lotus, welcome the arrest and surrender of Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui to the International Criminal Court. Mr. Ngudjolo is the third suspect arrested in the framework of the investigation that the ICC Prosecutor has been conducting in the DRC since June 2004.

Mr. Ngudjolo, alleged former leader of the Nationalist Integrationist Front (Front des nationalistes et intégrationnistes – FNI) and current Colonel of the National Army of the DRC (Forces armées de la RDC – FARDC), is charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity, perpetrated during an attack directed against the village of Bogoro, Ituri, in February 2003.

Germain Katanga, alleged leader of the Front for Patriotic Resistance of Ituri (Force de resistance patriotique en Ituri – FRPI), a militia which allegedly acted jointly with the FNI to undertake that attack, with the aim of "wiping out" Bogoro, had already been surrendered to the ICC, in October 2007, upon the same charges.

FIDH and its member organisations in the DRC welcome the transfer of two alleged leaders of militia groups which were allegedly involved in the perpetration of serious crimes in Bogoro.

Nevertheless, our organisations continue to regret the limited nature of the investigations conducted by the Prosecutor in the DRC. The arrest warrants issued against Mr. Ngudjolo Chui and Mr. Katanga include one single attack, the one in Bogoro, while the FNI and the FRPI undertook numerous attacks targeting the civilian population and leaving thousands of victims. Similarly, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, Chief of the Union of Congolese Patriots (Union des Patriotes Congolais – UPC), another militia operating in Ituri, is tried for the single count of enlisting, conscripting and using child soldiers.

"As a consequence of the ICC Office of the Prosecutor’s restrictive prosecutorial policy, many numerous crimes will remain unpunished, thus depriving thousands of victimes of any form of truth, justice and reparation for the crimes they have suffered. In addition, this policy would give the impression of a form of international justice ’à la carte’", declared Souhayr Belhassen, President of FIDH.

Therefore, FIDH and its member organisations in the DRC call for the extension of the investigations of the ICC, which should target as well those who backed and financed the militia groups operating in Ituri. Our organisations also call upon the Court to open investigations into other regions of the DRC, where the most serious crimes have been committed, in particular gender-based crimes. The organisations encourage the Prosecutor to carry on in this sense its analysis of the situation in the Kivus.

FIDH and its member organisations welcome the cooperation of the DRC and Belgium, in the execution of the arrest warrant. The organisations call upon all States to respect the international obligations they have assumed to cooperate with the Court, and in particular to facilitate the execution of the arrest warrants issued by the Court against those allegedly responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Uganda and Sudan.

Finally, the organisations insist on the importance to adopt legislation in order to implement the Rome Statute into Congolese law.
Last Update 12 January 2009

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