Germain Katanga, second Congolese transfer to the ICC

22 October 2007 by B. Bibas E. Chicon and F. Petit

Arrested by Congolese authorities in February 2005, former militia leader Germain Katanga, alias Simba ("lion" in Swahili), was transferred from Kinshasa to The Hague on October 18. The International Criminal Court (ICC) accuses him of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the February 23, 2003 attack on the Bogoro village in Ituri, eastern Congo. After more than three years of investigation, the ICC now has only two suspects in custody: Katanga and former militia leader Thomas Lubanga, who was transferred from Kinshasa to The Hague on March 17, 2006.

In Congo, and particularly in Ituri (the only province affected by the ICC indictments), the wait has been long. In Bunia, Ituri's capital, reactions to this second transfer are decidedly mixed. For Godefroy Mpiana, head of the local association Justice Plus, "the proceedings took a long time. The court really lost its credibility here on the ground. So the fact that it has a second defendant, with more charges against him than foreseen, is really a good thing. We were requesting that murder charges be added [for Lubanga, who has only been indicted for the use of child soldiers], so we welcome this new accusation."

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