ICC Sentences DRC Rebel Leader To 30 Years In Prison

Bosco Ntaganda was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity

Bosco Ntaganda was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity

Judges said Ntaganda was a "key leader" of the Union of Congolese Patriots rebel group and its military wing, the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (FPLC), in the DRC's volatile Ituri region in 2002 and 2003.

Ntaganda further received 28 years for the "systematic" rape of "women, girls and men" including girls aged nine and 11; a sentence of 14 years for the sex slavery of child soldiers recruited by his group; and 12 years for the sexual enslavement of civilian children.

Once famous for his pencil moustache and penchant for cowboy hats, Bosco Ntaganda, in a red tie and dark suit, appeared a picture of calm conformity in court as the harrowing evidence against him was read out.

Ntaganda's sentence is a rare success for prosecutors at the ICC, an worldwide court set up in 2002 to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity when member states are either unable or unwilling to do so.

Sawyer, whose interview with HRW about Ntaganda was released after the sentencing, said she hoped the result would "carry the message to other warlords and serious human rights abusers that they understand they are not above the law, and even years after their crimes, they can be held to account".

"The Chamber considered the gravity of the crimes and the degree of harm caused by each crime as well as Mr Ntaganda's culpability, namely his level of intent and degree of participation", the ICC said.

Judges said 46-year-old Ntaganda was the ruthless driver of ethnic Tutsi revolts amid the wars that convulsed the DRC after the 1994 genocide of Tutsis in neighbouring Rwanda. He told judges during his trial that he was "soldier not a criminal" and that the "Terminator" nickname did not apply to him.

The 30-year sentence is the longest to be handed down by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is situated in The Hague, in the Netherlands.

In one attack directed by Ntaganda, judges said soldiers killed at least 49 captured people in a banana field behind a village using "sticks and batons as well as knives and machetes".

The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Ntaganda - who fought for various rebel groups before becoming a general in the Congolese army - in 2006.

The time Ntaganda has spent in detention at the ICC from 2013 would be deducted from the sentence, the court said in a statement. Some bodies were found naked.

In the conflict in Congo, Ntaganda's UPC, dominated by the Hema clan, targeted rival Lendu people for expulsion from the mineral-rich Ituri region.

The ICC is an worldwide court set up in 2002 to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity when member states are unable or unwilling to do so.

Ntaganda was also the first suspect to voluntarily surrender to the court, but judges were not convinced he'd done the honourable thing.

A fifth person, Jean-Pierre Bemba, the former vice-president of DR Congo, was initially found guilty of war crimes before being cleared on appeal previous year.

Notícias recomendadas

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.