- International criminal court has today extended Congolese war crimes suspect, Thomas Lubanga stay behind bars until 26 January when his trial will commence in the Hague.
Mr Lubanga, founder and leader of Union of Congolese Patriots (UCP), was arrested in 2006 accused of recruiting and using child soldiers in Congo Kinshasa (DRC) during the country's bloody five-year civil war, which ended in 2003.
Judge Sir Adrian Fulford said detention of Mr Lubanga remain a necessary step to ensure that he attends his trial.
"As with all the accused before this Court, he faces grave charges, and consistently with our earlier decisions, we are of the view that if released he is likely to attempt to avoid standing his trial," he said.
ICC said Chamber decided to impose stay of proceedings because prosecution incorrectly used an article of Rome statute. "This article allows the Prosecutor, exceptionally, to receive information or documents, on condition of confidentiality, which are not for use at trial, but solely for the purpose of generating new evidence," ICC said in statement.
ICC said Chamber concluded that this misuse of the article could hamper Mr Lubanga from receiving a fair trial because prosecutors were withholding crucial evidence for the accused to prepare for his defense.
"Some documents were obtained from information providers, such us United Nations and NGOs with agreements not to be disclosed," it said.
Mr Lubanga is first suspect to stand trial before ICC and his case is first international war crimes trial focusing solely on use of child soldiers since the court began its operations in 2002.
The accused has denied all charges laid against him. His lawyers said he was only trying to end the clash, adding that international community is punishing him for refusing to give mining concessions in areas he controlled to foreign firms.
He was surrendered and transferred to the Court on 17 March 2006, upon a warrant of arrest issued by Pre-Trial Chamber I at the request of the Prosecutor.
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