Katanga to appeal ICC conviction

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iol news pic DRC Katanga

Reuters

Germain Katanga, a Congolese national, sits in the courtroom of the ICC during the closing statements in the trial against him and Ngudjolo Chui in The Hague. Picture: Michael Kooren

Congolese ex-militia boss Germain Katanga has appealed his war-crimes conviction for arming an ethnic militia that massacred scores of villagers in 2003, the International Criminal Court said on Wednesday.

The ICC convicted Katanga last month of complicity in the attack on Bogoro village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, ruling he armed the fighters who carried out the massacre but clearing him of rape, sexual slavery and using child soldiers.

Katanga's defence has told the ICC appeals chamber it will challenge that verdict, the court said.

“The appeals will be directed to the whole of the decision of conviction and it will seek to reverse the decision of conviction on each charge,” it said.

Katanga, 35, went on trial more than four years ago facing seven counts of war crimes and three of crimes against humanity for his role commanding the Patriotic Resistance Forces in Ituri (FRPI), the militia that murdered people with guns and machetes and went on a rampage of raping and looting during the attack on Bogoro.

Prosecutors said at least 200 people were killed in the massacre, though judges said only 60 victims, mainly women, children and the elderly, had been identified.

Katanga, once known by his nickname “Simba” (lion), faces up to 30 years in jail if the judgement is upheld.

The verdict against him was only the third by the Hague-based court, and its second conviction since opening its doors more than a decade ago.

The Ituri region where the massacre occurred has been riven by violence since 1999, when clashes broke out that killed at least 60,000 people, according to rights groups. The fighting has been driven by ethnic conflict and battles between rival militias for control of the region's gold, oil and diamonds. - AFP


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