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Congolese Militia Leader Guilty of Deadly Attack: ICC

The International Criminal Court has convicted former Congolese militia leader Germain Katanga of being an accessory to war crimes and crimes against humanity related to a 2003 massacre.

The court ruled Katanga helped facilitate and organize the militia group that murdered about 200 people in Bogoro village in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The 35-year-old Katanga, whose nickname is "Simba," or "the lion," showed no emotion as the verdict against him was read in the Hague-based court on Friday.

In a majority 2 to 1 verdict, Katanga was found guilty of murder, attacks against civilians, destroying property and pillaging. He was acquitted of the charges of rape, sexual violence and using child soldiers.

While Judge Bruno Cotte said investigators could not confirm Katanga directly participated in the fighting or wielded direct control over the Patriotic Resistance Forces, he said the court found he did help plan the attack.

Katanga was originally charged as an indirect co-perpetrator, but prosecutors later downgraded the charge to his being an accessory. A dissenting judge said this made the trial unfair, as he did not have adequate time to defend himself.

Katanga pleaded not guilty, saying he did not have direct control over the fighters and was not even in the area at the time. The judge said Katanga will remain in detention until sentencing, the date of which was not announced. Katanga is expected to appeal the ruling.

He went on trial at the ICC in 2009 along with another defendant, fellow militia leader Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, who was acquitted in 2012 for lack of evidence.



The court said combatants attacked Bogoro early in the morning, slaughtering civilians with machetes and firearms. In many cases, it said victims were asked their ethnic origin. When the fighting ended, it said the attackers hunted down and raped many of those in hiding.

Fighting over natural resources broke out in Bogoro during the final stages of Congo's civil war.

Katanga is only the second person to be convicted by the ICC, which was started in 2002.

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