ICC convicts second war criminal since 2003 mandate

BY Diane Jeanty  May 23, 2014 at 4:03 PM EST

The International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands. Photo by Vincent van Zeijst.

The International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands. Photo by Vincent van Zeijst.

Congolese warlord Germain Katanga is now the International Criminal Court’s second conviction since it was mandated to bring the worst international criminals to justice 11 years ago.

Katanga, the former leader of the Patriotic Resistance Forces in Ituri, was given a 12 year sentence for his role in the February 2003 attack on ethnic Hema inhabitants in northeastern Congo’s Bogoro village.

The brutal attack was part of series in the Ituri province where armed groups slashed victims with machetes and knives as they fought for control of natural resources in the area.

Some 200 victims were killed.

The majority concluded that Katanga knew the Ngiti militia, who lead the attack, intended to commit crimes.

In March, Katanga was convicted as an accessory to war crimes under charges of murder and pillaging.

Though the conviction closes the case against Katanga, he could be released as early as next year because he has already spent almost 7 years in custody.

Katanga was acquitted of charges of rape and the use of child soldiers and can appeal his conviction or sentence.

The ICC’s first completed trial concluded in March 2012 with the conviction of Congolese war rebel leader Thomas Lubanga, who was sentenced to 14 years for the use of child soldiers.

The Ituri war ended in 2003, but violent clashes continue in the Congo between various armed groups and the Congolese army. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, more than 100,000 Congolese people have been displaced this year.