Thursday, September 10, 2015

War Criminal in the Congo

Just cutting through some of the bush:

"War crimes trial opens for Congo rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda" by Marlise Simons New York Times  September 03, 2015

PARIS — Bosco Ntaganda is not the first person accused of war crimes to appear voluntarily before the International Criminal Court, but the former Congolese rebel commander and once powerful crime boss is the first to do so after turning himself in at a US Embassy.

Ntaganda, 41, a former militia leader whose trial for a multitude of war crimes charges opened on Wednesday, presented himself unannounced at the US Embassy in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, in March 2013, knowing there was a reward for his arrest on a range of atrocities. It was preferable to the prospect of death at the hands of his enemies.

Now in the dock, he is safe, except from the prosecution’s evidence. The chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, will seek to convict Ntaganda for his brutal campaigns, in which he is accused of terrorizing and killing civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri region, an area coveted for its mines that yield gold, tungsten, and other valuable minerals.

Now you know why there is chaos in the Congo.

Laying out the case against Ntaganda, Bensouda said other rebel groups had committed atrocities in the Ituri fighting. But she singled out Ntaganda as a notorious and ruthless commander whose conduct raised alarm far beyond the Great Lakes region of Africa.

So what western government double-crossed him?

She said that he ordered his troops to attack, pillage, rape, and kill civilians using guns, machetes, and knives, and that numerous towns and villages were razed in order to drive out the population.

Among these crimes, she said, was the evidence that “he recruited hundreds of children and used them to kill and to die in the fighting.”

“Girl soldiers were passed around to be used by soldiers and others as they pleased,” she said.

Ntaganda, once nicknamed The Terminator, looked down as the charges against him were read out in a court full of black-gowned lawyers. He faces 13 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity relating to attacks in 2002 and 2003, in which thousands died, and five charges related to conscription of children.

As the presiding judge, Robert Fremr, asked Ntaganda to rise and plead, he stood and said quietly, “I plead not guilty to all the charges.”


"Congo rebel leader denies atrocities" Associated Press  September 04, 2015

‘‘I have been described as The Terminator, as an infamous killer, but that is not me,’’ Bosco Ntaganda said on the second day of his trial on 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

His comments were a stark contrast to how prosecutors portray Ntaganda — as the leader of a rebel militia that murdered, raped, and persecuted innocent villagers, often using child soldiers, in the resource-rich Ituri region of Congo during a brutal conflict there from 2002-2003.

Reminds me of Charles Taylor.


Related: ICC Sentences Convicted Congolese Warlord 

That cleans up the Congo.