A Congolese warlord whose child soldiers murdered and disembowelled civilians has been jailed for 30 years by the International Criminal Court.
Bosco Ntaganda, 46, known as “The Terminator”, was convicted in July on 18 charges including murder, rape, and sexual slavery.
Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda, 46, has been given 30 years in jail for charges including murder and rape[/caption]
Ntaganda was found to have commanded troops that carried out atrocities during the Second Congolese War[/caption]
Ntaganda was a militia leader for the Union of Congolese Patriots (UCP) group in the region of Ituri for much of the Second Congo War, which ran from 1998 to 2003.
Between 2002 and 2003, he was found to be a “key leader” who ordered his troops to “target and kill civilians”, judges said.
More than 50,000 people people, mostly civilians, died in fighting between the Hema ethnic group, which made up most of the UCP’s ranks, and the rival Lendu group.
Among those conducting the killings were children as young as nine who had been recruited and brainwashed with violent videos.
Ntaganda was also in charge of troops who killed an estimated 150 people in the eastern town of Kiwanja on November 4 and 5 of 2008.
He was later integrated into the Congolese army, serving as a general between 2007 and 2012, but was later part of an uprising against the government as a founding member of the M23 rebel group.
In 2013, he became the first ever suspect to surrender himself to the court after walking into the American embassy in Rwanda.
‘WOMEN AND CHILDREN MUTILATED’
Describing one attack in the Ituri region, Justice Robert Fremer said that “sticks and batons as well as knives and machetes” has been used to kill 49 captured people in a banana field near a village.
“Men, women and children and babies were found in the field,” he said.
“Some bodies were found naked, some had hands tied up, some had their heads crushed.
“Several bodies were disembowelled or otherwise mutilated.”
Ntaganda’s 30-year sentence is the highest imposed by the court since it was established in 2002.
He is the fourth person to have been convicted on war crimes charges and the first convicted of sexual slavery.
Judges said they had found no mitigating circumstances, despite Ntaganda’s defence team arguing that he himself had been a victim of the Rwandan genocide, which occurred over a period of three months in 1994.
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Speaking after the judgement, Ida Sawyer, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Africa division, said: “Bosco Ntaganda’s 30-year sentence sends a strong message that even people considered untouchable may one day be held to account.
“While his victims’ pain cannot be erased, they can take some comfort in seeing justice prevail.”
Ntaganda is the fourth person to have been convicted on war crimes charges since the ICC was established[/caption]
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