Congolese refugees in Uganda who fled conflict in their country have welcomed the sentencing of former Congolese Warlord Bosco Ntaganda.
Yesterday, Trial Chamber VI of the International Criminal Court (“ICC”), unanimously, sentenced Bosco Ntaganda to a total of 30 years in prison.
The time Mr Ntaganda has spent in detention at the ICC – from 22 March 2013 to 7 November 2019 – will be deducted from this sentence.
In an interview with ChimpReports on the sidelines of the Forced Migration Conference in Naguru, Kampala Congolese refugees from North Kivu province said they were happy with the ruling.
“Ntaganda killed many of my relatives and I am now happy that he has been sentenced by the ICC. God bless the ICC for punishing Bosco Ntaganda,’’ said a male refugee
The Congolese refugee who asked not to be named, quoted from Galatians 6: 7 which says “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap’’
He added Ntaganda deserved much more that the 30 years to pay for the grave crimes that included murder and displacement of thousands of people from the Ituri Province of Congo.
Another female refugee who has been in Uganda since 2014 said she was happy with the ruling but noted that the ICC should also investigate top government officials in Kinshasha who she says are mostly fueling the war in Eastern DRC.
The Office of the Prime minister estimates that there are about 250,000 Congolese refugees who are living in different refugee settlement in Uganda.
Before its decision, the ICC considered the gravity of the crimes and the degree of harm caused by each crime as well as Mr Ntaganda’s culpability, namely his level of intent and degree of participation.
The Chamber also considered potentially mitigating circumstances but found them either not to be established or considered the weight accorded to be too limited to impact on the individual and overall sentences.
On the basis of its overall assessment, and in accordance with the Rome Statute, the Chamber imposed a specific sentence for each of the crimes committed by Mr Ntaganda.
These sentences ranged from eight years to 30 years of imprisonment.
Since the Chamber considered that the conditions warranting life imprisonment were not met, and because in such a situation the total period of imprisonment may not exceed 30 years in accordance with the Rome Statute, the Chamber considered that it had no further discretion in the determination of the overall joint sentence. It therefore sentenced Bosco Ntaganda to a total of 30 years of imprisonment.
The Prosecution and the defense can appeal the ruling within 30 days and reparation for the victims will be in due Course
On 8th July 2019, Trial Chamber VI found Mr Bosco Ntaganda guilty, beyond reasonable doubt, of 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed in Ituri, in 2002-2003.
Ntagada’s crimes included murder and attempted murder, rape, sexual slavery, persecution, forcible transfer and deportation, intentionally directing attacks against civilians, conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 years into an armed group and using them to participate actively in hostilities, intentionally directing attacks against protected objects, and destroying the adversary’s property.