March 7, 2014

DRC Warlord Germain Katanga Faces ICC Verdict

Germain Katanga, who denies the charges, was transferred to The Hague in 2007.
Germain Katanga, who denies the charges, was transferred to The Hague in 2007.

Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) are due to give their verdict at the war crimes trial of Congolese militia leader Germain Katanga.

He is accused of being behind the 2003 massacre of more than 200 villagers in the gold-rich Ituri province of north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Other charges include sexual slavery, rape and enlisting child soldiers.

Mr Katanga, who was transferred to The Hague by the Congolese authorities in 2007, denies the allegations.

The fighting in Ituri, which broke out in 1999 and continued until 2003, started as a struggle for control of land and resources.

But it escalated into inter-ethnic war, exacerbated by the presence of Uganda troops, that killed an estimated 50,000 people.

The charges against Mr Katanga all relate to an attack on Bogoro that took place on 24 February 2003.

ICC prosecutors at The Hague say the assault was designed to “wipe out” the entire strategically important village, which is close to the Ugandan border.

According to the prosecution, the attack happened in the early hours of the morning and some villagers were shot while they slept, while others were cut up with machetes to save bullets.

At the time Mr Katanga was 24 years old and the alleged commander of the Patriotic Resistance Force of Ituri (FRPI), which had the support of the Lendu ethnic group.

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