Bosco Ntaganda: a Hearing of Great Significance in the Fight Against Impunity

The hearing of the confirmation of charges in the case against Bosco Ntaganda at the International Criminal Court (ICC) began on Monday 10 February in The Hague. Following this hearing, the Judges will decide if Ntaganda will face trial or not.

“The fact that Bosco Ntaganda is facing charges at the ICC is extremely important for victims in Ituri. For victims, seeing him facing independent judges and prosecutors is a powerful message”, stated Patrick Baudouin, FIDH Honorary President.

During the hearing , the Prosecution will present its evidence. The Defence will be able the challenge the charges and the case built by the Prosecution. After the hearing the Judges will then have to decide if there are “substantial grounds to believe” that Bosco Ntaganda is criminally responsible of the charges laid by the Prosecution, and thus, to send him to trial.

Dismas Kitenge, FIDH Vice- President and President of GL, stated that: “Progress in this case is only possible because victims never gave up in their fight for justice. Each step towards a trial is very important for them. They have been waiting for too long” .

“The case against Bosco Ntaganda is very important, and for many victims, it is the only hope for justice” , said Paul Nsapu, FIDH Secretary General and President of LE. “However, DRC authorities need to make efforts to bring to justice those who are not facing trial in The Hague” .

“Ntaganda’s case is key to understand the importance of State cooperation to secure arrest warrants. All States Parties have an obligation to arrest all those facing an arrest warrant at the ICC, or they will be contributing to facilitate impunity” , Jean-Claude Katende, Prsident of ASADHO.

On 22 August 2006, the ICC issued an arrest warrant against him for his alleged participation in enlisting and conscripting children, and using them to participate actively in military hostilities, as commander of the Forces patriotiques pour la libération du Congo (FPLC). The second arrest warrant against him was issued on 13 July 2012 and relates to his alleged responsibility in the commission of murder, rape and sexual slavery, persecution, pillaging and attacks against the non-Hema civilian population in Ituri by the Union des Patriotes Congolais (UPC) and the FPLC.

Ntaganda finally surrendered voluntarily in March 2013, when he walked into the United States` Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda. He was then transferred to the ICC.

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