Published: Sat, November 09, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Former Congolese warlord, Bosco Ntaganda bags 30 years imprisonment

Former Congolese warlord, Bosco Ntaganda bags 30 years imprisonment

He told judges during his trial that he was "soldier not a criminal" and that the "Terminator" nickname did not apply to him.

At Thursday's sentencing, Judge Robert Fremr said there were no real mitigating circumstances and issued the 30-year sentence, the longest handed down by the Hague court to date.

While prosecutors had asked for a 30-year sentence, representatives of some of his victims in court insisted he should get a life sentence.

Known for his pencil moustache, tailored uniforms and a penchant for fine dining, Ntaganda wore a dark blue suit and red tie to hear the verdict.

Bosco Ntaganda was found guilty of 13 counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity in July.

In July, the ICC found him guilty of the 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Next steps: The Defence and the Prosecution may appeal this Sentencing Judgment within 30 days.

Ida Sawyer, Human Right's Watch deputy Africa director, said the sentence "sends a powerful message that those who commit serious crimes against the people, no matter their positions, can be held to account".

"While his victims' pain cannot be erased, they can take some comfort in seeing justice prevail".

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Judges said he was the ruthless driver of ethnic Tutsi revolts amid the wars in the DRC after the 1994 genocide of Tutsis in neighbouring Rwanda.

Ntaganda, dubbed the "Terminator" directed massacres of civilians in Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) volatile, mineral-rich Ituri region in 2002 and 2003.

Ntaganda was also the first suspect to voluntarily surrender to the court, but judges were not convinced he'd done the honourable thing.

"The crimes for which Mr Ntaganda has been convicted, despite their gravity and his degree of culpability, do not warrant a sentence of life in prison", Mr Fremr said.
He also received a 30-year sentence for persecution.

Ntaganda's charge sheet included conscription of child soldiers, as well as rape and sexual enslavement of both civilians and child soldiers, including two girls under 15 years old and one aged just 9.

After the Ituri conflict, Ntaganda was integrated into the Congolese army and was a general from 2007 to 2012, but then became a founding member of the M23 rebel group in a new uprising against the government.

In 2013 Ntaganda became the first ever suspect to surrender to the court, after walking into the USA embassy in the Rwandan capital Kigali.

On the basis of its overall assessment, and in accordance with the Rome Statute, the Chamber imposed a specific sentence for each of the crimes committed by Mr Ntaganda.

But the ICC has suffered a string of setbacks over recent years with some of its most high-profile suspects walking free, including Ivorian former leader Laurent Gbagbo earlier this year.

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