The United Nations Women has welcomed the conviction of Bosco Ntaganda by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes he committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo between 2002 and 2003.
The Hague-based court found the former rebel leader, nicknamed the ‘Terminator’, guilty on 13 counts of war crimes and 5 counts of crimes against humanity, including rape, sexual slavery, displacement of civilians, and enlisting and conscripting child soldiers under the age of 15 and using them to participate actively in hostilities.
“The conviction is significant because, if the verdict is upheld on appeal, it will be the first final conviction for crimes of sexual violence at the ICC and a major step towards ending impunity. The conviction is also notable because it is the first time that the ICC has found a defendant guilty of the crime of sexual slavery,” a statement attributed to the UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said.
The agency said it was particularly proud of the conviction because it has contributed by deploying an expert investigator on sexual and gender-based crimes to the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC for the Ntaganda case, in partnership with Justice Rapid Response.
He began his fighting days at the age of 17 after he fled his home country Rwanda, during the 1994 genocide to neighboring DR Congo. It is here that he alternated between being a rebel and a soldier, in both Rwanda and DR Congo. In 2009 he was integrated into the Congolese army where he rose up the ranks to a general.
He was in charge of troops who carried out 2008 Kiwanji massacre of 150 people
He becomes the fourth person convicted by the ICC since its creation in 2002.
Ntaganda surrendered at the US embassy in DR Congo in 2013 after a split in his rebel group.