Congo rebel leader sentenced to 30 years for war crimes
OSeveno, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Congo rebel leader sentenced to 30 years for war crimes

A panel of three judges from the International Criminal Court (ICC) sentenced Congoloese rebel commander Bosco Ntaganda on Thursday to 30 years in prison for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The Rome Statute governs the ICC’s sentencing for crimes regarding children and sexual violence, crimes of which the ICC found Ntganda guilty. Under the Rome Statute, the maximum prison sentence for such crimes is either 30 years or life imprisonment.

The court refused to sentence Ntaganda to life imprisonment despite his crimes, because the court found that his individual circumstances and the overlap between Ntaganda’s crimes did not justify life imprisonment under the Rome Statute:

Life imprisonment is permissible as a penalty under the Statute when justified by the extreme gravity of the crime and the individual circumstances of the convicted person. The Legal Representative of Victims of the Attacks communicated the wish of the victims represented by him for a joint sentence of life imprisonment to be imposed. The Chamber has taken note of this wish. However, having regard to its conclusions per crime, noting the overlap in conduct between part of these crimes, and on the basis of all further considerations relevant to this case, notwithstanding the fact that there are no mitigating circumstances to be afforded any weight, the Chamber finds that the crimes for which Mr Ntaganda has been convicted, despite their gravity and his degree of culpability, nevertheless do not warrant a sentence of life imprisonment.

This sentencing followed Ntaganda’s conviction in July. Ntaganda, dubbed “the Terminator,” was a rebel warlord in the Republic of Congo. The ICC convicted Ntaganda of crimes including rape, murder, sexual slavery, conscripting children, deportation and intentionally directing crimes against civilians.

The prosecution or defense may appeal the sentencing within 30 days.