18 December 2012

Congo-Kinshasa: U.S. State Department Daily Press Briefing: ICC Acquittal of DR-Congo Leader


Washington, DC — Excerpt from the United States Department of State daily press briefing:

MS. NULAND: Okay. Jo, did you have something else?

QUESTION: Yes. I wondered if there was any U.S. reaction to the acquittal today by the ICC of the Congolese leader Mathieu, and I can't pronounce his last name, I'm sorry, Ngudjolo, who was accused of a massacre in a village in 2003 in the DRC.

MS. NULAND: I did have something on that, Jo. And I also had some trouble with his very long last name. But I'm going to have to - oh, here it is. So this is with regard to the acquittal of Ngudjolo Chui, right? So we're obviously reviewing the trial's decision. We also understand that it is subject to appeal. I would note that in announcing the verdict, the chamber made clear that the prosecution had not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he was the commander of the combatants involved in the attack on the village, and thus he wasn't responsible within the meaning of the Rome statute. So again, they also - the judges in the case emphasized that his acquittal didn't mean that in its opinion no crime had been committed there. It's just that within their definition, they couldn't link him to it.

We continue to call - the United States continues to call for the apprehension and prosecution of perpetrators of human rights abuses and atrocities and crimes in the DRC, including other high, well-known figures - both Sylvestre Mudacumura and Bosco Ntaganda who are both the subject of outstanding ICC warrants. The current conflict in the Eastern Congo with M23 underscores the continuing impunity the perpetrators of violence and human rights abuses continue to enjoy in the Congo.

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