The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Dec. 18 acquitted Congolese militia leader Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui on charges of rape, murder and pillage. Ngudjolo was accused of commanding fighters in a 2003 rebel attack on Bogoro, a strategic village in the mineral-rich Ituri region in eastern Congo. Some 200 people, including children, were raped and killed in the attack, carried out with machetes. The judges ruled the prosecution had not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Ngudjolo was responsible for the crimes committed, and ordered his immediate release. Rights groups including Amnesty International expressed disappointment with the decision. The prosecution said it intends to launch an appeal.
Ngudjolo's acquittal is only the second verdict in the court's history and its first acquittal. The ICC convicted Congolese militia leader Thomas Lubanga Dyilo in March and sentenced him to 14 years in prison. He has since appealed.
From Jurist, Dec. 18. Used with permission.