Congolese rebel leader convicted of crimes against humanity including sexual slavery in ICC first
A Democratic Republic of Congo rebel leader has been found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity by judges in the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Bosco Ntaganda and his fighters disembowelled babies and smashed their heads, judges said.
Nicknamed “Terminator”, he has been convicted on 18 counts and has become the first person in the ICC to be convicted of sexual slavery.
The court found that the Union des Patriotes Congolais (Union of Congolese Patriots) (UPC) and its military wing, the Forces Patriotiques pour la Libération du Congo (Patriotic Force for the Liberation of Congo) (FPLC), were at all times involved in at least one non-international armed conflict with an opposing party, in the region of Ituri, from about 6 August 2002 to on or about 31 December 2003.
Mr Ntaganda fulfilled a very important military function in the UPC/FPLC.
The court found him guilty of crimes against humanity – murder and attempted murder, rape, sexual slavery, persecution, forcible transfer and deportation – and war crimes – murder and attempted murder, intentionally directing attacks against civilians, rape, sexual slavery, ordering the displacement of the civilian population, conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 years into an armed group and using them to participate actively in hostilities, intentionally directing attacks against protected objects, and destroying the adversary’s property.
It also found that Mr Ntaganda was liable as a direct perpetrator for parts of the charges of three of the crimes, namely murder as a crime against humanity and a war crime and persecution as a crime against humanity, and was an indirect perpetrator for the other parts of these crimes.
The parties may appeal the decision of conviction within 30 days. Issues related to the procedure for victims’ reparations will be addressed in due course.