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‘Terminator’ jailed for Congo crimes

Judge Robert Fremr said there were no real mitigating circumstances and issued the 30-year sentence

By in The Hague
  • Published 8.11.19, 1:56 AM
  • Updated 8.11.19, 1:56 AM
  • a min read
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Bosco Ntaganda enters the courtroom of ICC, to hear the sentence in his trial in The Hague, Netherlands, on November 7, 2019 AP

The International Criminal Court sentenced former Congolese military leader Bosco Ntaganda, nicknamed “Terminator”, on Thursday to 30 years in prison for murder, rape and conscripting child soldiers.

Ntaganda, 46, was found guilty in July on 18 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for acts committed when he was military chief of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) militia in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002-2003.

At Thursday’s sentencing, Judge Robert Fremr said there were no real mitigating circumstances and issued the 30-year sentence, the longest handed down by the Hague court to date.

“The crimes for which Ntaganda has been convicted, despite their gravity and his degree of culpability, do not warrant a sentence of life in prison,” Fremr said. Ntaganda, in a dark suit, listened intently to the judges during the ruling. He is already appealing his conviction.

In the conflict in Congo, Ntaganda’s UPC, dominated by the Hema clan, targeted rival Lendu people for expulsion from the mineral-rich Ituri region. Hundreds of civilians were killed and many thousands were forced to flee.

During the sentencing, Fremr said that Ntaganda was not only guilty of persecution as a crime against humanity, but that he had also personally murdered a Catholic priest, setting an example for his soldiers to follow.

They also described the “systematic rape” of the UPC’s female members by their fellow militants under Ntaganda’s leadership. Reuters