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On Monday, 9 June 2014, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) unanimously confirmed charges consisting in 18 counts of war crimes (murder and attempted murder; attacking civilians; rape; sexual slavery of civilians; pillaging; displacement of civilians; attacking protected objects; destroying the enemy’s property; and rape, sexual slavery, enlistment and conscription of child soldiers under the age of fifteen years and using them to participate actively in hostilities) and crimes against humanity (murder and attempted murder; rape; sexual slavery; persecution; forcible transfer of population) against Bosco Ntaganda and committed him for trial before a Trial Chamber on the charges as confirmed.
Mr Ntaganda (former alleged deputy chief of the staff of the Forces Patriotiques pour la Libération du Congo) was surrendered to the ICC custody on 22 March 2013 after surrendering himself to the US embassy in Rwanda (see blog post here on the events that lead to this surrender). The confirmation of charges hearing was held from 10 to 14 February 2014. For the Human Rights Watch Q&A on the confirmation of charges and the issues that it raised see here.
A total amount of approximately 69,000 pages of evidence was disclosed between the parties and submitted to the Chamber for its determination. Based on the evidence submitted to its consideration, the Chamber found that there was a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population pursuant to an organisational policy adopted by the Union des Patriotes Congolais/Forces Patriotiques pour la Libération du Congo (UPC/FPLC) to attack civilians perceived to be non-Hema, such as those belonging to Lendu, Bira and Nande ethnic groups. The attack took place between on or about 6 August 2002 and on or about 27 May 2003, in Ituri Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In addition, the Chamber found that a non-international armed conflict between the UPC/FPLC and other organized armed groups took place between on or about 6 August 2002 and on or about 31 December 2003 in Ituri Province, DRC.
The Chamber found that, as part of the widespread and systematic attack against the non-Hema civilian population and in the context of the non-international armed conflict, the crimes with which Bosco Ntaganda is charged were committed during two specific attacks, in addition to war crimes committed by the UPC/FPLC throughout the conflict. These specific attacks were carried out in identified locations in Banyali-Kilo collectivité between on or about 20 November and on or about 6 December 2002 and in identified locations inWalendu-Djatsi collectivité between on or about 12 and on or about 27 February 2003.
As specified in the decision, the Chamber found that Bosco Ntaganda bears individual criminal responsibility pursuant to different modes of liability, namely: direct perpetration, indirect co-perpetration (article 25(3)(a) of the Statute); ordering, inducing (article 25(3)(b) of the Statute); any other contribution to the commission or attempted commission of crimes (article 25(3)(d) of the Statute); or as a military commander for crimes committed by his subordinates (article 28(a) of the Statute).
The Decision Pursuant to Article 61(7)(a) and (b) of the Rome Statute on the Charges of the Prosecutor Against Bosco Ntaganda is found in English here. Questions and answers on the decision can be found in French here.
Further posts on the Armed Groups blog relating to Bosco Ntaganda can be found below: