Judges of International Criminal Court (ICC) convicted a Congolese rebel guerrilla leader of war crimes in Hague. Bosco “Terminator” Nataganda gave order to his forces to kill civilians committing barbaric massacres in the process; including one occasion (in a banana field) that left babies and children disemboweled or smashed heads, judges said.
Over the course of the three-year trial, prosecutors gave horrific details of the massacres as part of the evidence. The soft-spoken 45-year-old insisted that he was a soldier and that the “Terminator” nickname did not refer to him.
Prosecuting attorneys portrayed him as the brutal leader of ethnic Tutsi revolution that ravaged DR Congo after the ethnic cleansing of Tutsis in neighboring Rwanda. The scrape is so devastating that since the crisis broke in 1999, over 60,000 people have been killed. The killing is over the struggle among militia for control of scarce resources in the region. Bosco Nataganda told justices of ICC that “he is a revolutionary and not a criminal”; “the allegations were just lies”, he said.
As one of the 5-rebel Congolese leader brought before the ICC, Nataganda was the first ever suspect to voluntarily surrender to the ICC. In 2012, one of those said leaders, a Thomas Lubanga was served with 14 -year jail term.
Right groups and activist movements who campaigned for justice would see this as a major victory. An Al Jazeera correspondent in Kinshasa, Webb, called it a “rare moment of justice” as powerful people in the region are not normally held into account.
This ruling marks a big score for the ICC who have been criticized for trying mainly African suspects; with some accused high profile suspects walking free.