The International Criminal Court upheld the convictions and a prison sentence of a former Congolese warlord Tuesday, dismissing his lawyers’ arguments that legal errors tainted his original trial. Bosco Ntaganda was sentenced to 30 years in prison after the ICC found him guilty in 2019 of 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, sexual slavery and using child soldiers. Ntaganda commanded members of the Union of Congolese Patriots militia, who committed brutal acts during an ethnic conflict in a mineral-rich area of the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002 and 2003. Hundreds of civilians lost their lives in the violence, and thousands of others were forced to flee the country where many of its 90 million citizens live in extreme poverty. Earlier in March, the ICC ordered $30 million in reparations for Ntaganda’s victims. The appeals judges dismissed all of the almost 30 grounds of appeal raised against his conviction and sentence, the longest the court has handed down. Ntaganda was sentenced in 2019 for murder, rape, using child soldiers and other atrocities committed when he was military chief of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) militia in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002-2003.
SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA