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DRC: Lawyers dispute charges against ex-warlord Katanga

DRC: Lawyers dispute charges against ex-warlord Katanga

Democratic Republic Of Congo

Lawyers for a former warlord in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Germain Katanga, have cited irregularities relating to the prosecution of their client.

The lawyers claim the government’s investigation was without the approval of the International Criminal Court.

Germain Katanga and his five co-defendants are charged with “war crimes, crimes against humanity and participation in a guerilla movement.”

As I have said, it is in the hands of the High Court today, which must assess the validity of this decision concerning the ICC.

One of the lawyers for Katanga, Peter Ngomo Milamb told AFP that the investigation was a violation of article 108. “As I have said, it is in the hands of the High Court today, which must assess the validity of this decision concerning the ICC,” he said.

The military high court promised to rule on whether or not to maintain the case against Katanga at the next hearing, but did not give any date.

Katanga, who is the ex-commander of the Patriotic Resistance Forces in Ituri, was previously convicted in 2014 and sentenced to a 12-year jail term by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his role in atrocities committed in the mineral rich north eastern Ituri province between 1999 and 2007.

Nicknamed “Simba”, the Swahili word for Lion due to his ferocious character, Katanga was convicted for supplying weapons to his militia in a 2003 attack in the village of Bogoro that saw 200 people shot and hacked to death, but he was acquitted of sexual slavery and of using child soldiers.

In April this year, the ICC gave Congolese prosecutors the green light to proceed with a domestic case against the convicted 37-year-old warlord.

Katanga became the second person to be sentenced by the ICC since it commenced work in 2003 as the world’s first permanent court to try war crimes and crimes against humanity.