Separate indictments

Notion(s) Filing Case
Appeal Judgement - 07.07.2006 NTAGERURA et al. (Cyangugu)

At paragraphs 61 to 62, the Appeals Chamber found that, in the case of joinder of cases (and not a joinder of charges), the indictments do not become a unified document. The facts underlying a charge in one indictment against one of the accused cannot be used to support a charge in the indictment against another accused; each of the individual indictments has to meet the standard developed in the jurisprudence regarding the necessary content of the indictments; the Prosecution cannot rely on the indictment against one of the accused to remedy defects in the indictment against another accused:

61.     The Prosecution further argues that reading the Indictments separately with regard to the factual allegations “negates the rationale for creating the joinder in the first place”. This argument cannot prosper. It is not self-evident that distinct indictments should be read together as a whole, in case of a joinder. In joint trials, each accused shall be accorded the same rights as if he were being tried separately. The Prosecution thus remains under an obligation to plead, in each indictment brought, the material facts underpinning the charges against each accused. The Prosecution’s argument that the Indictment “became, in law, a single indictment” is dismissed. It was up to the Prosecutor to submit a new, joint and single Indictment against the three Accused.

62.     For these reasons, the Appeals Chamber finds that the Prosecution’s argument that the Indictments should have been read together as a whole is without merit. Insofar as the Appeals Chamber concludes that the Trial Chamber did not err by refusing to read the Indictments together, it is not necessary to examine the effect that a combined reading of the two Indictments might have had.

[1] Prosecution Brief in Reply, para. 24.

[2] Rule 82(A) of the Rules.

[3] Cf. Ntakirutimana Appeal Judgement, para. 470; Kupreškić et al. Appeal Judgement, para. 88.

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