International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Ntaganda Says He Punished Soldiers Who Attacked Civilians

In his continuing testimony at the International Criminal Court (ICC), ex-militia leader Bosco Ntaganda stated that he enforced discipline in the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (FPLC) and punished any fighter who attacked civilians.

“If any soldier had attacked the civilian population and such information was brought to my attention, such soldier would be punished,” said Ntaganda. He was responding to a question by a prosecuting lawyer Nicole Samson about the alleged attacks by FPLC militia on members of the Lendu ethnic group.

Asked by Samson whether he investigated any ethnically motivated attacks, Ntaganda stated that the FPLC provided protection to all ethnic groups in Congo’s Ituri district, and there were no campaigns against civilians of Lendu ethnicity.

“In my capacity … Continue Reading

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Ntaganda Trial: Uganda Cited in Training of Child Soldiers

Following a one-month break, Bosco Ntaganda has resumed testimony in his own defense at the International Criminal Court (ICC), denying knowledge of the existence of child soldiers among the Congolese militia forces trained by the Uganda government.

Under cross-examination by prosecution lawyer Nicole Samson, Ntaganda stated that Ugandan authorities were in charge of the training exercise and he “was not in a position to know” the age of recruits airlifted to Uganda in 2000.

According to prosecution, in August 2000, Uganda’s army airlifted up to 700 Congolese militia fighters to train them at two military schools in Uganda. Samson stated that the trainees included up to 163 children, some under the age of 18 and others below 15 years of age. When … Continue Reading

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Ntaganda to Resume Testifying at ICC Next Week

Next week, former Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda will resume testifying in his own defense at the International Criminal Court (ICC), where he has been on trial since September 2015.

The 43-year-old Ntaganda, who is on trial for 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, commenced giving his evidence on June 14. On July 21, when the ICC went on recess, the prosecution had just started its cross-examination.

Ntaganda is charged with crimes committed during August 2002 and May 2003 while he served as a deputy chief of staff of the Forces for the Liberation of Congo (FLPC), a militia group in Eastern Congo that served as the armed wing of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC). He has been … Continue Reading

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Reactions from People in an Ituri Village to Bosco Ntaganda’s Trial

This article was prepared by our partner Radio Canal Révélation, a radio station based in Bunia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), as part of an interactive radio project on justice and peace which encourages a debate on issues related to justice in the DRC. The views conveyed in this article belong to the people interviewed and do not necessarily represent the views of all the community members, or those of the victims.

The inhabitants of Lopa, where Bosco Ntaganda made his headquarters in the Ituri province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), are calling for ICC investigations of and reparations for victims in the area. The crimes allegedly committed in Lopa are not the focus of the … Continue Reading

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Ntaganda’s Testimony Enters Fourth Week as Court Goes on Recess

On Friday, the testimony of former Congolese rebel commander Bosco Ntaganda at the International Criminal Court (ICC) entered its fourth week. It was also the last day of hearings before the court goes into summer recess.

On June 14, Ntaganda took the stand to testify in his defense at the ICC. He has since recounted his involvement in various rebel groups, which he said was motivated by the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and inspired by Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni. Ntaganda told judges that he left his post in Rwanda’s national army to participate in groups that were fighting to liberate the Democratic Republic of Congo from the dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko.

Ntaganda explained that the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), in … Continue Reading

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Ntaganda Denies Executing Insubordinate Rebel Fighters in Congo

On Wednesday, former Congolese rebel commander Bosco Ntaganda denied shooting dead a rebel fighter of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) militia for allegedly refusing to participate in combat operations. While giving testimony in his own defense at the International Criminal Court (ICC), Ntaganda also rejected prosecution claims the militia in which he was a top commander shot dead fighters who were caught while attempting to desert.

“Is the information that you shot an individual who was 24 years old because he refused to participate in an operation true or not true?” asked prosecution lawyer Nicole Samson.

“I never executed any soldier from the UPC. I never killed a soldier who allegedly refused to go to the front,” replied Ntaganda.

Samson’s question was … Continue Reading

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Ntaganda Denies Being Military Leader of UPC Militia

In his continuing testimony at the International Criminal Court (ICC), Bosco Ntaganda has denied claims by the prosecution that he was the de facto military leader of the militia known as the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC).

Under cross-examination by the prosecution, Ntaganda stated that during 2002 and 2003, he remained subordinate to the UPC’s chief of general staff, Floribert Kisembo. He added that he was also subordinate to Thomas Lubanga who was the group’s political leader.

“You bypassed Kisembo when giving orders and responding to commanders. Is that right?” asked prosecution lawyer Nicole Samson.

“If I short-circuited him, then our army would be destroyed,” said Ntaganda, who served as deputy chief of general staff in the UPC.

On Monday, Samson presented communication logs … Continue Reading

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In Testimony at ICC, Ntaganda Denies Killing a Priest

War crimes accused Bosco Ntaganda has denied accusations that he killed a priest in the Congolese town of Mongbwalu 15 years ago. Testifying in his own defense at the International Criminal Court (ICC), the former rebel commander stated that he only learned of the death of the priest after surrendering to the court based in The Hague in March 2013.

“When you said you know nothing about [Abbe Boniface] Bwanalonga, was that the case?” asked defense lawyer Stéphane Bourgon, referring to the priest who prosecutors claim was murdered by Ntaganda.

“Yes, I did not know anything about it,” replied Ntaganda, adding that the death of the priest came to his attention while he was reviewing unspecified documents following his arrival at the … Continue Reading

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Ntaganda Maintains That UPC Militia Rejected Underage Recruits

Former Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda has maintained that the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) militia in which he was a top commander screened its recruits to weed out individuals who did not meet requirements, such as those underage. He said recruits deemed too young to serve in the group were sent back to their homes.

Testifying in his own trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC), Ntaganda stated that the screening that was enforced at the group’s main training camp in Mandro also applied at other camps, such as Rwampara. However, he did not state what exact age was considered unacceptable for admission into the militia.

“When you went to Rwampara [training camp], did you notice any recruits who did not … Continue Reading

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Ntaganda’s Testimony at The ICC to Last More Than Six Weeks

Bosco Ntaganda’s testimony at the International Criminal Court (ICC) will last more than the initially anticipated six weeks. Yesterday, judges granted defense lawyers an additional 15 hours to question the former Congolese rebel leader who is testifying in his own defense at the court based in The Hague.

In granting the defense request for additional time, judges stated that the decision was “exceptional” given that Ntaganda is appearing as a witness in his own trial. “The chamber acknowledges that Ntaganda is the accused. In this regard, it may be difficult to estimate the time required for a lengthy examination,” ruled Presiding Judge Robert Fremr. “Accordingly, the chamber grants the defense request to be allocated a maximum of 15 additional hours to … Continue Reading

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