The International Criminal Court (ICC) has upheld the conviction and 30-year prison sentence of a Congolese rebel leader known as “The Terminator” who was found guilty of crimes including murder, rape and sexual slavery.
Bosco Ntaganda was convicted in July 2019 for his role as a commander of rebels responsible for atrocities committed during a conflict in a mineral-rich region of Congo in 2002-03.
The global court found him guilty of a total of 18 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes.
On Tuesday, a five-judge appeals panel rejected all 15 of Ntaganda’s challenges to the convictions and also upheld the sentence he was trying to overturn.
Ntaganda’s lawyers asked for his acquittal or retrial on appeal, saying the original trial was riddled with legal errors.
The prosecution also appealed, saying the former militia leader should be convicted for several attacks a lower court acquitted him for.
Ntaganda was sentenced two years ago for murder, rape, using child soldiers and other atrocities committed when he was military chief of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) militia in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002-03.
A good day for international justice and a warning to all perpetrators – no matter where they are – who think that their impunity will last forever. https://t.co/mnGVpCLTAb
— Simon Adams (@SAdamsR2P) March 30, 2021
During the conflict, Ntaganda’s UPC, dominated by the Hema clan, targeted rival Lendu people for expulsion from the mineral-rich Ituri region.
Hundreds of civilians were killed and many thousands were forced to flee in the sprawling Central African country of about 90 million where many live in extreme poverty.
In March, judges at the ICC ordered reparations of $30m for his victims.
The ICC was set up in 2002 to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity when member states are unable or unwilling to do so.