Bosco Ntaganda, finally on trial at the ICC
Bosco Ntaganda will be tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC), pre-trial judges confirmed on Monday, having reviewed 69,000 pages of evidence submitted by the prosecution. Ten years after the opening of ICC investigations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and eight years after the first arrest warrant against him [IJT-88, IJT-83], Ntaganda becomes the fourth person to be charged by the universal court for crimes committed in the Eastern Ituri province.
A former military commander – “my name is Bosco Ntaganda. When I arrived at the ICC I was a soldier, but I’m no longer a soldier any more,” he declared to the court – Ntaganda will have to respond during his trial to 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed during a series of attacks launched by his forces against civilians “perceived to be non-Hema,” between August 2002 and May 2003.
Ntaganda’s arrest warrant says he is “supposedly” a Rwandan national. After he surrendered to the ICC last year, he insisted on speaking in Kinyarwanda at the court. He indeed started his career in Rwanda, when he joined the Rwandan Patriotic Front during the genocide. Back in the DRC, the “Congolese Tutsi” became the head of military operations for the military branch (FPLC) of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) – a movement led by the first ICC defendant, Thomas Lubanga, a Hema.