ICC confirms charges against Katanga and Ngudjolo 26 Sep 2008
Pre-Trial Chamber I has confirmed charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes brought against two former Congolese commanders, paving the way for the start of their trial.

Germain Katanga

In its decision of 26 September, Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) stated that there was “sufficient evidence” to believe that Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui had committed grave crimes punishable under the Rome Statute in their attack against the village of Bogoro in February 2003.

The Court will now set a starting date for the trial, although it is unlikely to begin before the end of the 2008.

Katanga and Ngudjolo have been charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes for their role in the attack on Bogoro in the Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, although the Chamber did not confirm all the charges against the accused.

Recruiting children

Mathieu Ngudjolo ChuiThe Pre-Trial Chamber confirmed that there was sufficient evidence to “establish substantial grounds to believe” that Katanga and Ngudjolo used children under the age of 15 to take active part in the hostilities (punishable as a war crime under Article 8(2)(b)(xxvi) of the Rome Statute). The commanders allegedly used the minors both as personal bodyguards and as combatants during the attack “on or about 24 February 2003”.

The Pre-Trial Chamber confirmed the charges of directing an attack against a civilian population, willful killings, destruction of property, and pillaging – all as war crimes. Additionally, the two accused will face charges of sexual slavery and rape (jointly committed through other persons) both as a crime against humanity and as a war crime, and murder as a crime against humanity.

The Chamber declined to confirm charges of crimes of inhuman treatment, outrages upon personal dignity (war crimes) and “other inhumane acts” as a crime against humanity.

At the time of the attack in 2003, Katanga (or “Simba” as he was known) was the highest ranking commander of Patriotic Resistance Force in Ituri; Ngudjolo was the highest ranking National Integrationist Front commander.

Press release

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