During yesterday afternoon´s session of the International Court of Justice the judges had to decide about the evidence presented by the applicant’s advocates concerning the case of Croatia against Serbia. The evidence was rated quite differently by the judges. It ranged from dismissing some evidence up to a rating as high level evidence. One piece of evidence was dismissed, because it was part of a study guide from another Model United Nations. Furthermore the judges had to dismiss a document, since it was related to the Bosnian-Croatian conflict. Also a further piece of evidence could not convince the judges, due to the fact that it was written in Serbian language, which meant the judges were unable to understand it. Furthermore another piece was dismissed, since it was a statement of law and therefore it was impossible to weigh it like other evidence. Nevertheless the advocates also presented some evidence, which was rated as high by the judges. First of all a report by Amnesty International was classified as high-level evidence, due to the details mentioned in it and since the NGO is considered as being a reliable source. Last but not least a Security Council resolution was classified as high quality evidence.
During this morning´s session the judges in the ICJ had to come to their final judgement on the case concerning Uganda´s activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo. There were rumours suggesting that the judges had some difficult consultations about some details in their judgement, but in the end they came to an unanimous verdict. The judges could not find any proof for violation of Congo´s sovereignty, since the applicants did not present any evidence directly related to the Ugandan military. Furthermore the source of a news report which was presented as evidence was classified as unreliable by the judges. Additionally in the eyes of the judges the witness could not present any definitive evidence for human rights violations by Uganda, also the witness had been unable to give insight in the conflict, due to a lack of knowledge. As a conclusion Congo´s right of self-defence was regarded as unnecessary by the judges. So the Democratic Republic of Congo was accused of Human Rights violations. Furthermore the judges stated that the applicants did not provide any empirical evidence from their point of view. Last but not least the Vienna convention was mentioned in the verdict. This lead to a direct reaction by the crestfallen applicants advocate( Democratic Republic of Congo), requesting the chairs to open the study guide and afterwards stating this convention had not been part of the case and trying to interact directly with Judge Mohamed, which was stopped by the chairs. But finally the verdict was not changed.
During yesterday´s session of the International Court of Justice, a cross examination of a witness of suspected Human Rights Violation in the Democratic Republic of Congo was on the agenda. The witness had to answer a lot of questions, even some very personal ones concerning rape and diseases. During the examination different questions by judges and responding advocates (Uganda) were subject to objections by the applicant´s advocate (Democratic Republic of Congo). This advocate furthermore tried to influence the witness while picking up a note from the presidents and walking in front of the witness chair, telling the witness he had to answer with “yes”. During the hearing the witness stated, he did not know who raped him, because it was dark at the time when it happened. He furthermore told the court, that he was raped in his village and a language which he could not understand was spoken. Since it was dark outside he was unsure if it was one person or a group of people who raped him. He was raped in August, to be exact on 12th August 1998. During the month troops had arrived in his village. He remembered that his rapists were wearing uniforms. The witness pointed out, that the rape was very traumatic for him and that he is frightened of being raped again every day. When being asked if he is sick more often than other people, he answered he just gets common colds more often, else everything would be normal.
The ICJ started its session yesterday evening, dealing with the case of Democratic Republic of Congo versus Uganda. After the oaths, oral statements followed. Then the advocates presented their evidence to the committee. They had 20 minutes to present the evidence, though they only used half of the time for presenting it to the judges. One could have the impression that most people present in the room already were aware of the facts presented. So the judges had a hard task during their first consultation. During this period of time the advocates were preparing for the testimony of witness.