Today, 27 February 2015, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court pronounced its judgment confirming, by a 3-2 majority, the decision of Trial Chamber II acquitting Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui of charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes. The conduct of this case by the prosecutor and judges has turned out to be completely professional. It has proceeded according to the standards of acknowledged national criminal justice systems around the world. Secondly this clearly impartial judgment demonstrates the internal independence between the offices of the court.
The Appeals Chamber grounded its decision on technical matters of evidence and process which according to the Chamber did not meet the standard of proof “beyond reasonable doubt”. The judgments of both the Trial Chamber and Appeals Chamber demonstrate the strong emphasis ICC judges give to high-quality and extensive evidence at all stages of a case. It has been clear that the Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, will make every effort to meet this requirement in future cases.
The court has shown that only relevant and admissible items will be admitted into evidence and that every item will undergo a very exhaustive examination. Moreover, the failure to prove the allegation beyond a reasonable doubt does not mean that the Chamber believes that the attack on the village did not happen. Therefore, the judgment “does not negate the fact that crimes were committed in Bogoro or the suffering of the victims” (Fatou Bensouda).
Written by Kathrine G. Lodberg