Tuesday, May 16, 2006

ICC Update - Decision on disclosure in Lubanga case

One of the most interesting developments at the ICC at the moment is the preparation of the confirmation hearing in the case of the first suspect in the custody of the Court, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (The date for this hearing has been tentatively set for the 27 June 2006)

The purpose of the Confirmation Hearing, as provided for in Art. 61 (7) of the Rome Statute, is for the Pre-Trial Chamber to decide on whether there is “sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe” that the suspect committed the crimes charged. If the charges are confirmed, the case will then proceed to the actual trial before a Trial Chamber.

One main task for the Pre-Trial Chamber in the preparation for the hearing is to supervise the disclosure of documents and other evidence from the Prosecution to the Defence (and, to a certain extent, vice versa) so that both parties (especially the Defence, which by far does not have the same resources and possibilities for investigation in the field as does the Prosecution) are well prepared for the hearing.

Earlier today, Judge Sylvia Steiner, the Single Judge of Pre-Trial Chamber I, responsible for inter alia the question of disclosure, released the “Decision on the final system of disclosure and the establishment of a timetable”. I will post a first short summary of this decision and the process leading to it soon. In the meantime, the decision itself can be accessed here.