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ICC confirms conviction of Congolese "Terminator"

After his first conviction in 2019, confirmed on March 8, 2021, the appeals chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) sealed the fate of the former general of the DRC, Bosco Ntaganda. He receives the heaviest sentence in the history of the ICC.

The long trial of General Bosco Ntaganda, nicknamed "The Terminator", is drawing to a close. After the appeals chamber rejected his lawyers' request for acquittal on March 8, this Wednesday, March 31, Judge Howard Morrison said the war criminal would face 30 years in prison and would have to pay the sum of 25 million euros as compensation for the families of his victims.

Many war crimes

Bosco Ntaganda is a former Rwandan Defense Force (FRD) fighter, who joined the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) army in 2002, where he progressed to the rank of general. He had, according to the ICC, had a decisive role in war crimes committed by his troops, the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), in 2002 and 2003 in Ituri, in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The UPC operated on the eastern border of the DRC in 2002 and 2003, killing hundreds of civilians in the struggle with rival militias whose main stake was the exploitation of minerals in the region. Mainly made up of members of the Hema clan, the UPC targeted the Lendu in the mineral-rich province of Ituri.

Legal proceedings against him began in 2006, when the ICC issued a secret international arrest warrant to apprehend him. In 2008, "Terminator" was in North Kivu and was one of the leaders of the rebellion of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP). The same year, he was accused of a massacre in Kiwanja. In 2009, he became general of the Congolese army, after the signing of a peace agreement. Ntaganda, however, continued to support M23 rebels. His career ended in 2012 when, threatened by M23 members in the Congolese government, he went to the American embassy in Kigali. The CIA then issued it to the International Criminal Court.

18 counts

The trial opens in June 2015. Bosco Ntaganda faces 13 charges for war crimes and 5 for crimes against humanity. Murders, slavery, kidnappings, torture, “Terminator” has a well-stocked track record.

Following the judgment at first instance in 2019, Ntaganda says he considers himself "a soldier, not a criminal". He adds: “I fought in the war, but I never flew. The real looters are the same people who brought me here ”. Ntaganda appealed the decision of the Trial Chamber, the prosecution also appealed, arguing that the former military leader should be convicted of other crimes.

The appeals chamber rejected Ntaganda's request for acquittal and found that the former rebel commander had failed to demonstrate that he was denied the right to a fair trial. The Chamber also concluded that she would not go beyond "the facts and circumstances described in the charges" and rejected Ntaganda's argument that her involvement in the alleged crimes was part of a structural policy. Likewise, the Appeals Chamber rejected the prosecutor's appeal.

“Terminator”, aged 47, will therefore spend the next 30 years in prison. He will remain in the ICC detention center in The Hague until the court decides where he will serve his sentence. Not being solvent, it will be the Trust Fund for Victims (FPV) which will pay compensation to the families of the victims of Ntaganda, estimated at 100 people.

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