DRC: Big win at International Criminal Court

8 April 2015, 15:06 UTC | Dominican Republic
Refugee widows and children whose husbands and fathers were killed during militia attacks in 2003. © Amnesty International

The International Criminal Court in May 2014 convicted Germain Katanga, a rebel leader from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), for his part in a vicious attack on a village in eastern Congo where civilians were massacred.

“The verdict will provide victims with a measure of some justice and we hope that this will spur the DRC to tackle other cases that have so far escaped justice,” said Stephanie Barbour, Head of Office, Amnesty International’s Centre for International Justice.

Katanga was convicted of:

  • murder as a crime against humanity
  • murder as a war crime
  • deliberately directing an attack on a civilian population
  • destruction of property as a war crime and pillage as a war crime

However, he was acquitted of:

  • five counts of rape and sexual slavery as a crime against humanity and a war crime
  • the use of children under the age of 15 taking direct part in hostilities as a war crime.

We campaigned to establish the International Criminal Court in 1998. This is a crucial step towards justice for innocent people whose human rights are violated in crisis situations. When governments know they will be held accountable, they behave differently.

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