Monday, 27 January, 2020


International Criminal Court Sentences Ntaganda to 30 Years

International Criminal Court Sentences Ntaganda to 30 Years International Criminal Court Sentences Ntaganda to 30 Years
Bennie Garza | 09 November, 2019, 17:45

At the time of Ntaganda's crimes, the DRC Congo was embroiled in the Second Congo War, a brutal conflict involving nine African states and dozens of militias between 1998-2003.

The ICC was set up in 2002 as an independent worldwide body to prosecute those accused of the world's worst crimes where national authorities were incapable of bringing perpetrators to justice.

Judge Robert Flemr justified the sentence with the fact that the crimes committed by Ntaganda had been "particularly cruel".

Ntaganda showed no emotion as Presiding Judge Robert Fremr passed sentences ranging from eight years to 30 years for individual crimes and an overarching sentence of 30 years.

Known for his pencil moustache, tailored uniforms and a penchant for fine dining, Ntaganda wore a dark blue suit and red tie to hear the verdict. One alleged co-conspirator was Thomas Lubanga, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2012 after the ICC convicted him of conscripting child soldiers. Ntaganda has already appealed against his conviction.

It therefore sentenced Bosco Ntaganda to a total of 30 years of imprisonment.

Ntaganda, who has insisted he is innocent, became a symbol of widespread impunity in Africa in the seven-odd years between first being indicted by the global court and finally turning himself in in 2013 as his powerbase fell apart.

Ntaganda faced life in prison for a litany of crimes including directing massacres of civilians in Democratic Republic of Congo's volatile, mineral-rich Ituri region in 2002 and 2003.

They 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).

Under the court's rules, victims can apply for reparations.

Ntaganda has voluntarily surrendered to the court.

Fighters loyal to him carried out atrocities such as a massacre in a banana field behind a village in which at least 49 people including children and babies were disembowelled or had their heads smashed in.

More than 60,000 people have been killed since the violence erupted in Ituri, according to rights groups, as militias battle each other for control of mineral resources.

In their unanimous 117-page ruling, the three judges said they could find no mitigating factors that warranted reducing Ntaganda's sentence.

He however added that Ntaganda had personally murdered a Catholic priest, setting an example for his soldiers to follow.

Ntaganda fought under the command of Rwanda's current president, Paul Kagame, when Mr Kagame was leader of the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) fighting to end the 1994 genocide against his ethnic group, the Tutsi.

In 2012, he became the founding member of the M23 rebel group after he defected with hundreds of soldiers from the Congolese national army.

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