today's Pick
Congo militia leader ordered rapes, massacres - prosecutor
Publish Date: Feb 10, 2014
Congo militia leader ordered rapes, massacres - prosecutor
Bosco Ntaganda. PHOTO/AFP
  • mail
  • img
newvision


A Congolese militia leader widely known as "the Terminator" ordered troops, including child soldiers, to massacre and rape civilians to spread terror and grab territory, prosecutors told the International Criminal Court on Monday.


The allegations against Bosco Ntaganda were made at the opening of hearings seen as a test for the global legal institution after a string of troubled cases. Ntaganda has yet to enter a plea.

"He played a key role in planning assaults against the civilian population in order to gain territory," said Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, setting out her arguments to judges who will decide if there is enough evidence for Ntaganda to stand trial.

Ntaganda was a senior military commander who should also be punished because he "failed to prevent or punish crimes by troops under his effective command or control," she said.

Ntaganda, an ethnic Hema, is accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes including murder and rape, all allegedly committed during a 2002-03 conflict in the mineral-rich east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The crimes were committed against the Lendu population and other ethnic groups in a bid to drive them out of the Ituri region over 12 months from September 2002, said the prosecutor.

Ntaganda, a tall, slight man with a pencil-line moustache, rose briefly at the start of the hearing, speaking in his native Kinyarwanda tongue to confirm his identity.

Ntaganda handed himself in to the U.S. embassy in the Rwandan capital Kigali last March after a 15-year career as a commander in a series of rebellions in Congo's Ituri province.

Shortly after his arrival in The Hague, prosecutors asked judges for more time to rebuild a case which had been dormant for five years while Ntaganda was on the run.

The session will be a test of prosecutor Bensouda's promise last year that cases will be "trial ready" by the time they come to court - an implicit response to criticisms by academics and member states of earlier cases which collapsed when judges ruled evidence was not strong enough.

The court, 11 years old this year, has handed down just one conviction - jailing another Congolese warlord, Thomas Lubanga, for 14 years in 2012 for using child soldiers. Reuters

 

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Rwanda
Rwanda’s second largest political party, Parti Social Démocrate (PSD), has backed the removal of term limits for elected political leaders in the country’s constitution....
More than 430 dead in India heatwave
More than 430 people have died in two Indian states from a days-long heatwave....
Opposition street fights not about electoral reforms
The Opposition scenes witnessed on the Kampala streets are not just about the so called "electoral reforms"....
China
Chinese officials have been sent on prison tours visiting inmates including former colleagues as a warning against corruption....
Man makes false bomb alert to delay plane
French police arrest a man who called in a false bomb alert to an airport to delay his girlfriend's flight because she was in danger of missing it....
Leaders react to Janet Museveni’s retirement
Reactions after Mrs Janet Museveni honours her pledge to her Ruhama constituency of serving only two terms as MP....
Should politicians be banned from addressing religious gatherings?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter