Friday, August 31, 2018

A war-lord faces justice

A Congolese warlord known as the “Terminator” for his alleged brutality has protested his innocence at the close of his trial at the international criminal court, telling judges: “I am a revolutionary, not a criminal.”
Bosco Ntaganda is charged with 13 counts of war crimes and six of crimes against humanity, all allegedly committed in 2002 and 2003 in Ituri in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 
The ICC issued a warrant for his arrest in 2006, for the recruitment and use of child soldiers. The charges against him include murder, rape and sexual slavery; he ordered his men to rape women to keep “morale high” and to strike terror into the local population, according to prosecutors. The ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said: “The crimes were not random, isolated or spontaneous. They were part of a carefully planned, coordinated and executed campaign of violence, deliberately targeting the Lendu and Ngiti civilian populations and other non-Hema ethnic groups.”
 Ntaganda’s lawyers presented a very different character, complaining that his nickname was “entirely wrong” and that Ntaganda was actually a father figure to his troops.
“The army was a family … The ‘children’ in the family does not mean that they are children,” Ntaganda’s lawyer, Stephane Bourgon, said. “They are the members of the army and military commanders take care of their ‘children’.”
Having lost support in his own rebel group and the patronage of Rwanda, Ntaganda arrived at the US embassy in Kigali on a March morning in 2013 and asked to be handed over to the ICC. The maximum sentence for the crimes he is charged with would be 30 years, but some analysts say the prospect of a jail term served quietly in a European country would be preferable to Ntaganda than the alternative under Congolese or Rwandan authorities, or going on the run.

No comments: