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ICC to continue proceedings against Congo militia leader Lubanga

The appeals chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] ruled Friday that proceedings can continue [press release] against accused Congolese militia leader Thomas Lubanga Dyilo [case materials; JURIST news archive]. The trial chamber had ordered Lubanga's release in July after previously ordering a stay [JURIST reports] in the proceedings until the prosecution complied with a directive to provide certain information to the defense. The prosecution appealed the decision [text, PDF; JURIST report] to release Lubanga, arguing that it was unlikely he would be able to be located and re-detained upon resumption of the trial. The appeals chamber concluded [judgment, PDF] that the trial chamber erred in staying the proceedings without first imposing sanctions. The court reversed the release order [judgment, PDF] and ordered proceedings to continue.

Lubanga is accused of war crimes for allegedly recruiting child soldiers to fight in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2002-2003. His trial began in January 2009 but was halted soon after when one of the child witnesses recanted his testimony [JURIST report] that Lubanga had recruited him for the militia. The prosecution concluded its case [JURIST report] last July after presenting 22 weeks of testimony. Lubanga maintains he is innocent [JURIST report] of the charges against him. He became the first war crimes defendant to appear before the ICC, formed in 2002, after he was taken into custody [JURIST report] in March 2006.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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