Mathieu Ngudjolo, a former leader of the Front des nationalistes et intégrationnistes, (National Integrationist Front, FNI), is accused of three crimes against humanity and seven war crimes, notably for his alleged role - alongside Germain Katanga - in the attack of Bogoro (Ituri, Eastern DRC) on February 24, 2003 where over 200 people were killed.
Defense is expected to call to the bar ten witnesses including the accused. Four of the witnesses are under special protective measures because of their fear of reprisals.
According to his lawyer Jean-Pierre Kilenda, these hearings should allow the accused "to give his version of the facts after almost four years of silence due to the procedure".
The first witness testifying anonymously explained that he was a nurse like the accused, who had trained him. Answering a question from Defence co-counsel Jean-Pierre Fofé, he further said that he was on guard duty in a care center when the attack on Bogoro started: "I knew there were fighting in Bogoro when I heard the rattle. I had spent the night at the hospital".
Afterwards, Mathieu Ngudjolo "came to replace me. I left and he stayed with our patients". He couldn't remember precisely what he was doing when he was replaced. According to the Defence, Ngudjolo was helping giving birth the day of the atack.
Ngudjolo was transferred to the ICC on February 7, 2008. His trial opened on November 24, 2009.
© Hirondelle News Agency