A Congolese general and rebel leader known as “the Terminator” was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court on Monday.
Bosco Ntaganda was found guilty of 13 counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity. The long list of offenses includes murder, rape, sexual slavery, enlisting child soldiers, persecution, forcible transfer and deportation, pillage and intentionally directing attacks against civilians.
The Hague-based court said the crimes were committed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s eastern Ituri province in 2002 and 2003.
Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, said the conviction means “the 2,123 victims in the case can at last begin the process of reparations for all the harm inflicted upon them by Ntaganda.”
“We can only hope that today’s verdict provides some consolation to those affected by the grotesque crimes perpetrated by Ntaganda,” Nyanyuki added.
Ntaganda fought for various rebel groups before becoming a general in the Congolese army.
The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Ntaganda in 2006. Despite the warrant, Ntaganda was promoted within the army in 2009 and continued living in eastern DRC.
“Every day of the seven years that Ntaganda freely roamed the streets of Goma after the International Criminal Court issued his arrest warrant increased the torment that the victims and their families had to endure – to the shame of DRC authorities and the international community,” Nyanyuki said.
Ntaganda surrendered to the US Embassy in Rwanda in 2013. His trial began in 2015, with closing arguments presented in August last year.
A spokesman for the court says Ntaganda has 30 days to appeal. He will be sentenced at a later stage. While the maximum sentence is 30 years, the court can, in extreme cases, impose a term of life imprisonment.
Stephanie Halasz contributed reporting.