Quote of the Day — Katanga Dissent

by Kevin Jon Heller

Germain Katanga will be sentenced tomorrow, having been convicted of crimes on the basis of an uncharged, unlitigated mode of participation that the Pre-Trial Chamber assured the defence would not be at issue in the trial and that the Trial Chamber first mentioned more than six months after the 30-month trial ended. The Trial Judgment is a horrorshow, replete with statements by the majority blaming the defence team for not having the Kreskin-like ability to anticipate its recharacterization years before it happened and investigate accordingly. In anticipation of what will no doubt be a lengthy sentence, therefore, I offer the following quote from Judge Van den Wyngaert’s dissent:

I find it particularly striking that my colleagues of the Majority, who have needed more than twenty months to produce a judgment in a case of relatively limited dimensions on the basis of a limited amount of evidence that had been, for the most part, known to it for a long time, now find it fitting to criticise the Defence for not being able to conduct a complex investigation with limited resources and under very difficult circumstances in less than two months.

Anyone interested in the ICC should pore carefully over Judge Van den Wyngaert’s dissent, which simply lays waste to the trial judgment. The dissent stands as the lone bright spot in an otherwise dismal case — one that has resulted in perhaps the most unfair conviction in the history of international criminal law.

PS. Readers who are interested in my critique of Regulation 55, governing legal “recharacterization” of facts, might want to read this (updated in light of the Katanga trial judgment).

http://opiniojuris.org/2014/05/22/quote-day-katanga-dissent/

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