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ICC dismisses Ntaganda's appeal for interim release

New York, US - The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Wednesday dismissed, by majority, the appeal of Mr. Bosco Ntaganda against the ICC's Pre-Trial Chamber II decision of 18 November 2013 rejecting his application for interim release.

As the former alleged Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Forces Patriotiques pour la Liberation du Congo (Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo FPLC), Mr. Ntaganda is accused of 13 counts of war crimes and 5 counts of crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Ituri, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), between 1 September 2002 and the end of September 2003.

An ICC statement sent to PANA in New York said that the Pre-Trial Chamber II had rejected Mr. Ntaganda defence’s application for interim release.

It said that Mr. Ntaganda remains in the ICC’s custody.

'In its decision confirming the Pre-Trial Chamber decision, the Appeals Chamber stressed that the appraisal of the evidence relevant to continued detention lies, in the first place, with the Pre-Trial Chamber.

'The Appeals Chamber reviewed, in particular, the Pre-Trial Chamber’s reliance on two United Nations Group of Experts reports in light of the legal framework for the assessment of evidence.

'The Appeals Chamber noted that the methodology employed by the Group of Experts in the collection of information was quite rigorous and that the  excerpts relied upon by the Pre-Trial Chamber were sufficiently detailed to enable Mr. Ntaganda to investigate and challenge the relevant information such that he was not prejudiced by the fact that the sources relied upon were anonymous.'

The Appeals Chamber concluded that the Pre-Trial Chamber did not err in relying on two United Nations Group of Experts Reports to support factual findings relevant to its overall conclusion that the detention of Mr. Ntaganda appeared necessary.

It also found that Mr. Ntaganda had failed to establish any error in respect of a number of other factual findings of the Pre-Trial Chamber relevant to the risk of Mr. Ntaganda absconding or obstructing or endangering the investigation or court proceedings.

The ICC had issued two warrants of arrest for Mr. Ntaganda.

On 22 March 2013, Mr. Ntaganda surrendered himself to the ICC.

The confirmation of charges hearing in the case was held from 10 to 14 February, but the decision on the confirmation of charges is pending.

Pana 06/03/2014