POST WRITTEN BY: Prof. Peter Widulski, Assistant Director of the First Year Legal Skills Program and the Coach of International Criminal Moot Court Team at Pace Law School.
June 25, 2014 marked a significant date in the history of the International Criminal Court; the ICC Prosecutor and the Defense for Germain Katanga discontinued their appeals regarding Katanga’s March 7, 2014 conviction on most (but not all) of the charges against him and his twelve year sentence issued on May 23, 2014. The discontinuance of the appeals in this case means that the judgment and sentence against Katanga are now final. This is the first time such finality has been achieved in a case that the ICC Prosecutor pursued to conviction.
The ICC Prosecutor achieved a conviction on March 14, 2012 against Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, and Lubanga was sentenced on July 10, 2012. However, appeals in the Lubanga case are still pending. As noted in a previous post, Germaine Katanga was convicted on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity relating to the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
This first conviction with finality at the ICC is a clear signal to all those who might seek to perpetrate such crimes, putting them on notice that, sooner or later, justice will be served.
As the next step in the process, the ICC Trial Chamber with responsibility for the Katanga case will consider possible reparations to victims of the crimes for which Germain Katanga was convicted.