[QODLink]
Africa

ICC finds Congo warlord guilty of war crimes

Conviction of Germain Katanga is only second in International Criminal Court's 11-year history.

Last updated: 07 Mar 2014 11:25
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Congolese warlord Germain Katanga has been convicted of being an accessory to crimes including murder and pillage during an attack on a village in a diamond-rich region of Congo in 2003, in which about 200 civilians were killed.

Reading the verdict on Friday, only the second conviction in the International Criminal Court's 11-year history, presiding judge Bruno Cotte said that without Katanga's aid in procuring firearms, the attack would not have been as bloody.

"Absent that supply of weapons ... commanders would not have been able to carry out the attack with such efficiency," Cotte said at the conclusion of the five-year trial, the Reuters news agency reported. 

The court acquitted Katanga of charges of direct involvement in the attack.

Geraldine Mattioli-Zeltner from Human Rights Watch on the significance of Katanga's conviction by ICC

Al Jazeera's Neave Barker speaking from the Hague said that Katanga was found not guilty of using child soldiers and acquitted of charges related to rape and sexual slavery. 

But the court had received conflicting testimonies as to whether he was the head of armed group, the Patriotic Resistance Force, and had found it difficult to prove  that in the five years since the trial began, Al Jazeera's correspondent said.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, War Child's CEO Rob Williams said the verdict would not satisfy some of the victims because they had received witness statements detailing severe sexual violence carried out by the Patriotic Resistance Force.

"One girl in Bogoro said she was dragged out of her home at night, abducted and kept as a slave by rebels, who raped her repeatedly," said Williams. 

However, one of the three judges slammed Friday's verdict, saying that the court changed the nature of the charges against Katanga during the trial, depriving him of the ability to defend himself.

Katanga will be sentenced after a separate hearing.

337

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps have been released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.