Trial of Congo war crimes suspect begins at ICC

The trial of Bosco Ntaganda (BBC profile), a former Congolese rebel leader also known as "The Terminator," began at the International Criminal Court (ICC) Sept. 2. The rebel leader has pleaded innocent to the 18 charges levied against him, including rape, murder, recruitment of child soldiers and sexual slavery of civilians. He has been accused of killing at least 800 civilians between the years of 2002 and 2003 and keeping girl soldiers as sex slaves. The trial is expected to last for a few months with the anticipation that approximately 80 witness will be called. He faces a maximum life sentence if convicted.

In June of last year the ICC confirmed charges against Ntaganda. The ICC held a confirmation of charges hearing in February 2014, reviewing approximately 69,000 pages of evidence. The previous year the ICC postponed the confirmation of charges hearing in order to give prosecutors more time to prepare their case. The pre-trial chamber concluded that Ntaganda bore individual criminal responsibility for specific attacks as well as war crimes during the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), referring him for trial at a future date. The Congolese general voluntarily turned himself over to the ICC in March 2013 following his surrender to a US embassy in Rwanda, marking the first time a wanted person has voluntarily surrendered to the ICC. 

From Jurist, Sept. 2. Used with permission.