ICC rejects Congo rebel commander’s conviction appeal
© WikiMedia (Vincent van Zeijst)
ICC rejects Congo rebel commander’s conviction appeal

The International Criminal Court (ICC) Appeals Chamber on Tuesday upheld a conviction and 30-year prison sentence for former Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda.

Ntaganda, known colloquially as “The Terminator,” was convicted by Trial Chamber VI on July 8, 2019, on 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity that occurred under his command as military chief of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) militia between 2002 and 2003 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Among those 18 counts were charges of murder, rape, sexual slavery, and the use of child soldiers. Ntaganda appealed the Trial Chamber’s decision and requested that the Appeals Chamber acquit him of the charges, arguing that he was denied fair trial rights and that the Trial Chamber erred in its decision. The prosecution also appealed the decision, arguing that the former rebel leader should be convicted of various other crimes of which he was acquitted.

The Appeals Chamber denied Ntaganda’s acquittal request and found that the former rebel commander failed to show that he was denied fair trial rights. The Chamber also determined that it did not “exceed the facts and circumstances described in the charges,” and rejected Ntaganda’s argument that his involvement in the crimes charged was part of a larger organizational policy directed at civilians. Similarly, the Appeals Chamber denied the prosecutor’s appeal, disagreeing with the prosecutor’s definition of what constitutes an “attack” under article 8(2)(e)(iv) of the Rome Statute.

Earlier this month, the Trial Chamber ordered Ntaganda to pay his victims $30 million in reparations which was to be made through the Trust Fund for Victims. Ntaganda will remain in the ICC’s detention facility at The Hague in the Netherlands until the ICC decides where he will serve his sentence.