ICC orders release of Lubanga 02 Jul 2008
Trial Chamber I at the ICC has ordered the release of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo after finding that a fair trial of the accused is 'impossible'.

Thomas Lubanga Dyilo

On Wednesday 2 July 2008, Trial Chamber I at the International Criminal Court (ICC) ordered the release of its first suspect, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, a former Congolese war-lord.

On Monday 16 June, the Trial Chamber had imposed a stay on proceedings pending a decision on his release.

The order granting release of the accused shall not be enforced until the expiry of the five-day time limit for the Prosecution to appeal. If an appeal is filed, and a request is made in the appeal for ‘suspensive effect’, the accused shall not be freed from the detention unit in the Scheveningen prison in The Hague pending possible appeals.

The ICC has confirmed that an order releasing the accused shall only be put into effect after arrangements have been made for his transfer to a State that is prepared to receive him.

The trial of Lubanga, who was the founder and president of the Union des patriotes congolais, had been due to begin on 23 June 2008. However, a stay on proceedings was imposed on 16 June after the Trial Chamber concluded that the Prosecution had incorrectly used a provision in the Rome Statute. As a result, a significant number of (exculpatory) documents were not disclosed to the Defence.

According to the Trial Chamber, the release was the ‘logical consequence’ of the stay on the proceedings. In their decision of 2 July, the judges stipulated that ‘a fair trial of the accused is impossible, and the entire justification for his detention has been removed.’


International Justice Forum: Discuss the release of Thomas Lubanga

Press release
Thomas Lubanga Dyilo

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