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ICC prosecutor says first trial could begin in 2007, Darfur charges coming soon

[JURIST] International Criminal Court [official website; JURIST news archive] chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] said Thursday that the tribunal could start its first formal trial in 2007 [Reuters report] if judges confirmed charges against Congo militia leader Thomas Lubanga [Trial Watch backgrounder; JURIST news archive], and was almost ready to file charges [Reuters report] relating to alleged crimes against civilians committed in the Darfur [JURIST news archive] region of Sudan. Moreno-Ocampo was speaking to an assembly of the court's member states at ICC headquarters in The Hague and addressed a press conference afterwards.

Earlier this month the court held its first hearing [JURIST report] on whether there is enough evidence to proceed to trial in the Lubanga case, and held another hearing [press release] in the matter Thursday. In June, Moreno-Ocampo told the UN Security Council [JURIST report] that his investigation into crimes against humanity in Darfur had already documented thousands of killings of civilians, large scale massacres, and hundreds of rapes that he anticipated would result in multiple cases rather than a single proceeding.

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