DR Congo: UN mission hails transfer of suspect to International Criminal Court
The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today welcomed the transfer of Congolese General and former militia leader Germain Katanga into the custody of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The 29-year old suspect, who faces charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed in 2003 in Ituri, yesterday became the second Congolese to be transferred to the ICC, following Thomas Lubanga, who has been charged with crimes relating to the recruitment of child soldiers in what is widely viewed as a milestone in international justice.
In a statement today, the UN mission, known as MONUC, congratulated the DRC Government “for taking this important step in the fight against impunity, and for its continued cooperation with the ICC.”
The mission pledged its support in helping the Government strengthen its own internal judicial proceedings for the worst crimes, noting that the ICC's jurisdiction is complementary to the primary jurisdiction of Congolese courts.
“MONUC reiterates its willingness to continue to assist the DRC's Government attempts to bring to justice all those who have been responsible for serious human rights violations, in conformity with its mandate.”
Prosecutors allege that Mr. Katanga was responsible for murders, inhumane acts and sexual enslavement at the village of Bogoro, constituting crimes against humanity and war crimes, and for cruel treatment at Bogoro constituting a war crime. They also allege he committed the war crime of using children to participate actively in hostilities, the war crime of launching an attack against the civilian population of Bogoro and the war crime of pillaging Bogoro.
In a statement yesterday, ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said that more action can be expected. “We are selecting a third case. The DRC is still engulfed in violence. There is forced displacement of people, sexual violence of shocking brutality, and killings. It must stop. Perpetrators must know they will be prosecuted. The ICC is at work in the DRC.”