INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE: ICC gives Congo warlord Germain Katanga 12-year jail term

[23 May 2014] - The International Criminal Court has sentenced ex-Congolese militia leader Germain Katanga to 12 years in prison for aiding and abetting war crimes.

Katanga was found guilty in March, only the second person to be convicted by the Netherlands-based court.

He was behind the 2003 massacre of hundreds of villagers in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The fighting escalated into an inter-ethnic conflict that is estimated to have killed 50,000 people.

In a statement read out to the court in The Hague, presiding Judge Bruno Cotte said that the more than six years the 36-year-old former militia leader had spent in ICC custody would be taken into account.

The chamber said that he would not be asked to pay a fine.

Known to his supporters as Simba, or "the lion", Katanga was found guilty of planning the ambush on the village of Bogoro in gold-rich Ituri province.

'Particularly cruel'

"The scars of the fighting that occurred that day are still be seen today," Judge Cotte said.

Katanga was also found to have procured the weapons - including guns and machetes - used to kill more than 200 of the villagers, but he was acquitted of direct involvement.


Germain Katanga's ICC charges

• Convicted of accessory to one crime against humanity (murder) and four war crimes (murder, attacking a civilian population, destruction of property and pillaging)

• Acquitted of one crime against humanity (sexual slavery) and three counts of war crimes (using child soldiers, sexual slavery, rape)

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