Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - The International Criminal Court convicted a notorious rebel commander known as "The Terminator" of 18 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes including murder, rape and sexual slavery for his role in atrocities in a bloody ethnic conflict in a mineral-rich region of Congo in 2002-2003. Among his victims there is also a priest, Fr. Boniface Bwanalonga, who disappeared in October 2002. According to the testimony collected, the priest was kidnapped by fighters in Ntaganda along with two nuns. The latter were later released but nothing was known about the priest. In Mongbwalu, over 200 civilians were massacred due to the bombing of the village during the siege and in the final assault machetes were used.
In this trial, the prosecution covers only a small part of the 25-year career as militia leader, the one that saw him among the leaders of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC). Later on Ntaganda gave birth to other groups that have always operated in the east of the DRC, such as the CNDP (National Congress for the Defense of the People) and then the M23.
In the period of time taken into consideration in the trial (2002-2003), the prosecution considers Ntaganda to have caused nearly 800 deaths and 140,000 displaced persons. NGOs speak of over 60,000 people who lost their lives after the outbreak of violence in Ituri in 1999.
The sentence will be pronounced at a future hearing in a few weeks. Ntaganda faces 30 years imprisonment. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 9/7/2019)