News / Africa

International Criminal Court Convicts Congolese Warlord

FILE - Germain Katanga, a Congolese national, sits in the courtroom of the ICC during the closing statements in the trial against Katanga and Ngudjolo Chui in The Hague.
FILE - Germain Katanga, a Congolese national, sits in the courtroom of the ICC during the closing statements in the trial against Katanga and Ngudjolo Chui in The Hague.
Henry Ridgwell
The International Criminal Court in The Hague has convicted former Congolese warlord Germain Katanga of being an accessory to crimes against humanity.  But he was cleared of more serious charges relating to atrocities carried out in 2003.  Katanga’s guilty verdict is just the second conviction in the court’s 12-year history.  

At the end of a trial lasting six years, Presiding Judge Bruno Cotte delivered the court’s verdict Friday.

He announced that the Chamber declares Germain Katanga guilty as an accessory to the crimes committed on 24th of February 2003, of murder as a crime against humanity.

The conviction marks only a partial victory for the prosecution, says Phil Clark, an expert on the ICC from London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.  

“The more important charges around whether Katanga orchestrated these massacres in Ituri province in northeastern Congo; whether he was responsible for rape, sexual slavery, and the use of child soldiers.  They’ll be disappointed that those charges didn’t stick," said Clark.

Katanga led a militia group called the Patriotic Resistance Force in Ituri, a diamond-rich part of northeast Congo.

In one attack in February 2003, prosecutors said at least 200 civilians died as Katanga directed child soldiers in a killing spree.  Women and girls were allegedly forced to become sex slaves.

Katanga was found guilty of supplying guns in the massacre - but not of directing it.

The failure to convict on those charges lies with ICC prosecutors, says Phil Clark.

“The ICC has been doing its investigations on the cheap.  It’s been using a really small group of investigators who haven’t spent an enormous amount of time in Congo.  The prosecution has cut corners, they’ve used local Congolese intermediaries to do a lot of their dirty work.  And as a result of that these cases haven’t been systematically built," he said.

One of the judges gave a dissenting opinion on the verdict -- saying the decision to convict Katanga as an accessory, when he had first been charged with playing a central role, meant the trial was unfair.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda disagreed.

“Today's verdict is part of an independent and impartial judicial process, which pays homage to the highest standards of the due process," said Bensouda.

Katanga’s co-accused, former warlord Mathieu Nngudjolo Chui, was acquitted in 2012 after prosecutors failed to prove he had directed massacres in 2003.

Legal observers say Germain Katanga’s defense team is likely to appeal his guilty verdict.

You May Like

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
March 12, 2014 2:43 AM
We don't condone such a vigorous act in Africa. We are glad that the court brought Ngunjolo to justice. Justice has been served for all the women he rape. However, this ICC is only for the African people? Look at what Mr. Putin is doing right in Ukraine, why the IC cannot do something about it? The ICC and IC are bias in making decisions. they only make decision that affects the third world countries. Mr. Putin is a brutal leader, he needs to be brought to justice. it is time for the ICC and IC to stop their hypocrisy. And let there be equal justice to all man who will violate the ICC laws. and not only the African people. One of the thing I see is this, being an African, Our African leaders are weak and they are dependent on the west for their money and other resources. and If they cannot stand on their own, they will always be a bagger. And the west will give them hand over. It is time that Africa get their priority in order. It is time for Africa to lead.

by: ali baba from: new york
March 07, 2014 5:22 PM
why international court has not arrested suddenness leader and convict his for the two civil war that kill millions of people

by: Cherry Picking
March 07, 2014 1:32 PM
The ICC needs to apply its mind to those still outstanding for genocide in Southern Africa - they also need to set their moral compass ?

by: Bob from: USA
March 07, 2014 4:28 AM
Who is the ICC to hold trial over anyone that is not Dutch? You folks need to stick your nose where it belongs. On another continent is not where you should stick your nose in. What you need to do is put on trial all the ziodogs that have enslaved your people the Dutch.

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
March 07, 2014 3:23 AM
Here we go again!

ICC is undoubtedly becoming a "court club" where black African leaders are exclusively prosecuted. Wondering who is next in line to be brought there for prosecution and humiliation??

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs