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Second suspected Congo war criminal turned over to ICC

[JURIST] The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website; JURIST news archive] said Thursday that former Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) warlord Germain Katanga [Trial Watch profile; ICC materials] has been transferred [press release] to the court's detention center [PDF backgrounder] at The Hague. The ICC Office of the Prosecutor alleges that Katanga, the former senior commander of the Force de Resistance Patriotique en Ituri ("FRPI") militia in the DRC, ordered fighters under his command to "wipe out" [OTP press release] the village of Bogoro, where hundreds of civilians were killed and several women were forced into sexual slavery. Katanga is charged with three counts of crimes against humanity and six counts of war crimes. His first appearance before the court has not yet been announced.

Katanga is the second warlord from the DRC who has been flown to the ICC to face trial. Last year, Thomas Lubanga [Trial Watch backgrounder; JURIST news archive] was taken into ICC custody [JURIST report] to face accusations of widespread human rights abuses in eastern Congo’s Ituri district [HRW backgrounder]. Lubanga is also suspected of ordering the killing of nine UN peacekeepers in 2005 and filling the ranks of his militia with child soldiers [BBC report]. The ICC is considering moving Lubanga's trial back to the DRC [JURIST report], where the court feels the trial would resonate more with the country's citizens. Reuters has more.

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