Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court issued a decision today, 31 August 2009, postponing the commencement of the trial in the case The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui until 24 November 2009. The Chamber found that compelling reasons require that the date of 24 September 2009 initially set for the commencement of the trial be put back.
The Chamber announced that it would ensure an expeditious trial consonant with the Rome Statute and the rules, and that the time the Prosecutor needs to present his evidence is not unduly long. The Chamber underscored that several recently raised issues must be adjudicated before the trial can begin:
- the changes required to the table submitted by the Prosecutor at the request of the Chamber presenting all the evidence and the list of witnesses he intends to call. The purpose of that document is is to provide a properly structured presentation of prosecutorial evidence, particularly for the Defence;
- the need for the parties to reach agreement on evidentiary issues and for the Chamber to rule on the Defence for Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui's request regarding the admissibility and relevance of more than 290 pieces of evidence submitted by the Prosecutor;
- the need for the Chamber to rule on the Defence for Germain Katanga's motion of 30 June that his arrest and detention in the Democratic Republic of the Congo be declared unlawful and that the proceedings be stayed;
- the possible changes to the protective measures for witnesses called in this case, in particular those also called in the Lubanga case who have been granted protective measures by another Trial Chamber.
For these reasons, Trial Chamber II has decided to postpone the commencement of the trial in the case of The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui and to convene a status conference on 30 September 2009 at 9:30 am (The Hague local time).