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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact 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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs