Germain Katanga: 12 years… and a release next year?

28 May 2014 by Tjitske Lingsma, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Last week Congolese militia leader Germain Katanga was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment by the International Criminal Court (ICC). While pronouncing a sentence that could lead to the early release, next year, of the universal court’s second convict, the presiding judge Bruno Cotte stressed the gravity of the crime. 

While pronouncing a sentence that could lead to the early release, next year, of the universal court’s second convict, the presiding judge Bruno Cotte stressed the gravity of the crime. On 7 March 2014, the court had found Katanga guilty as an accessory to murder as a war crimes and crimes against humanity, attacking civilians, destruction of enemy property and pillaging. These crimes were committed during the one-day attack on Bogoro in Ituri, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). 

On 23 May, the court pronounced and explained the sentence. As a commander of a local militia, Katanga made a “significant contribution” to the commission of a number of crimes, says Cotte. Katanga provided his fighters with logistical means, weapons and ammunition so that they could  “wipe Bogoro off the map” and eliminate the Hema population. Although not present during the attack, he “knew” what would happen. 

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