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ICC prosecutor files petition to lift stay on Lubanga trial

[JURIST] The Office of the Chief Prosecutor [official website] of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] filed a petition [PDF text] Friday asking the ICC to lift an indefinite stay on the trial of Congolese ex-militia leader Thomas Lubanga [ICC materials; JURIST news archive]. The ICC had imposed the stay [order, PDF; JURIST report] last month due to prosecutorial misconduct, concluding that Lubanga [BBC profile] would be unable to receive a fair trial if his defense were not granted access to classified testimony of prosecution witnesses. The ICC subsequently ordered Lubanga freed [JURIST report], but then agreed to suspend his release until the court reaches a final decision on the prosecutors' appeal [text, PDF]. Friday's petition contains a proposal from the UN that would allow the ICC judges to review the sensitive material to determine whether or not the information must be presented to Lubanga's defense lawyers. According to the proposal, if the information is deemed necessary to ensure the fairness of the trial, a summary of the information without personal details of the witnesses would be prepared and presented to the defense. AFP has more.

Once the leader of the Union of Patriotic Congolese [GlobalSecurity backgrounder], Lubanga is charged with using child soldiers [JURIST report; BBC report] in his militia, which is believed to have committed large-scale human rights abuses in Congo's violent Ituri district [HRW backgrounder]. He became the first war crimes defendant to appear before the ICC after he was taken into custody [JURIST reports] in March 2006. Lubanga's long-delayed trial [JURIST report] is scheduled to be the ICC's first since its creation in 2002.

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