The Hague, September 16, 2011 (FH) - A visit of judges from the International Criminal Court (ICC) to Bogoro, a Congolese village where crimes were allegedly committed by Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo in 2003, would be useless, expensive and risky, wrote ICC Prosecutor in a note to the Chamber.

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Katanga and Ngudjolo are accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes, notably for their role in the attack of Bogoro (Eastern DRC) on February 24, 2003 where over 200 people were killed.

On August 26, 2011, judges requested both parties to give their opinion about a judicial travel to DRC.

According to the Prosecution, the geography of the site has not been a point of controversy with the Defence, hence traveling there would be useless.

"The additional benefits to the Chamber do not appear to be worth the significant time, expense and security that such visit would entail", Prosecutor wrote. However, "the Prosecution submits that if a site visit were contemplated, it would require careful security planning to ensure safety of the Chamber and the Court personnel".

On the other side, Defence lawyers and representatives of the victims said they were in favor of such a visit. According to Defence lawyer Jean-Pierre Kilenda, February would be the best period to do so, for all parties could see " the climate and vegetation prevailing at the time the crimes were committed".

The Chamber has not ruled yet on the matter. ICC has never organized a site visit since its opening in 2002.


© Hirondelle News Agency