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Congolese militia boss Katanga appeals ICC conviction

Congolese ex-militia boss Germain Katanga/AFP

Congolese ex-militia boss Germain Katanga/AFP

THE HAGUE, Apr 10 – Congolese ex-militia boss Germain Katanga and his prosecutors have appealed his war-crimes conviction for arming an ethnic militia that massacred scores of villagers in 2003, the International Criminal Court said Wednesday.

The ICC convicted Katanga last month of complicity in the attack on Bogoro village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

It found that he armed the fighters who carried out the massacre but cleared him of rape, sexual slavery and using child soldiers.

Katanga’s defence has told the ICC appeals chamber it will challenge that verdict, the court said.

“The appeals will be directed to the whole of the decision of conviction and it will seek to reverse the decision of conviction on each charge,” it said.

The prosecution has also filed an appeal against the ruling which acquitted Katanga on charges of rape and sexual slavery.

“The Prosecution will request the Appeals Chamber to reverse or amend the decision, and/or order a new (partial) trial before a different trial chamber,” the ICC’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in court papers.

Katanga, 35, went on trial more than four years ago facing seven counts of war crimes and three of crimes against humanity for his role commanding the Patriotic Resistance Forces in Ituri (FRPI), the militia that murdered people with guns and machetes and went on a rampage of raping and looting during the attack on Bogoro.

Prosecutors said at least 200 people were killed in the massacre, though judges said only 60 victims, mainly women, children and the elderly, had been identified.

Katanga, once known by his nickname “Simba” (lion), faces up to 30 years in jail if the ruling is upheld.

The Ituri region where the massacre occurred has been riven by violence since 1999, when clashes broke out that killed at least 60,000 people, according to rights groups.

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The fighting has been driven by ethnic conflict and battles between rival militias for control of the region’s gold, oil and diamonds.

The verdict against Katanga was the third by the Hague-based court, and its second conviction since opening its doors more than a decade ago.


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