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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs