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Congo Militia Leader Convicted of Four War Crimes

The International Criminal Court found brutal Congo warlord Germain Katanga guilty for crimes during a 2003 massacre.

by Olivia Becker
Mar 7 2014, 11:30pm

Photo via AFP

The International Criminal Court found Germain Katanga, a brutal Congo warlord, guilty of four counts of war crimes and one count of crime against humanity on Friday. Katanga was convicted of overseeing and orchestrating atrocities against civilians during an attack on the village of Bogoro in the Ituri region of DRC.

Katanga pleaded not guilty to the charges related to the massacre in February 2003, which left over 200 people dead. He was 24 years old at the time and leader of the Front for Patriotic Resistance of Ituri (FRPI). He was also accused of rape and sexual slavery crimes, but Katanga was acquitted of these charges due to a lack of evidence.

Although by no means exhaustive, these are some of the most notorious figures to be charged by the ICC, though Katanga is only the second person to be convicted by the court since it was established in The Hague in 2002.

Photo via Kony 2012

Joseph Kony

The ICC issued an arrest warrant for the Ugandan leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army after charging him with 33 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity in 2005. They included the use of child soldiers, child sex slavery, and the mass murder of civilians while he was the commander-in-chief of the LRA. The LRA reportedly killed over 1,000 people since 2008 and abducted nearly 8,400 children since 2002.

Although the notorious cult-like leader achieved the same level of internet stardom as Rebecca Black’s Friday music video thanks to the Kony 2012 campaign, he continues to remain at large somewhere in central Africa after fleeing arrest from the ICC.

Photo via AK Rockefeller

Charles Taylor

The former President of Liberia holds the unpleasant title of being the first head of state to be convicted of war crimes by an international court since the Nuremburg trials. Taylor was indicted in 2003 for his role in directly funding and providing ongoing support to rebel groups that committed brutal war crimes throughout Sierra Leone’s civil war between 1991 and 2002.

The atrocities committed throughout the conflict became notorious for their brutality and included child enslavement, rape, and mutilation. Testimonies described rebels hacking off limbs with machetes and mass gang rape on young girls throughout Sierra Leone. Taylor was sentenced to 50 years in prison in April 2012.

Thomas Lubanga Dyilo

Dyilo was the first person to be ever convicted by the ICC. He was found guilty by the court on charges of war crimes in the eastern region of DRC in 2012. Dyilo was also Katanga’s boss in the FRPI.

His trial began in January on 2009 and centered on his role in leading the Union of Congolese Patriots militia group. His charges included mutilation of civilians, the use of child soldiers, and carrying out massacres on the basis of ethnicity. Dyilo was sentenced to 14 years in jail.

Photo via GovernmentZA

Omar al Bashir

Sudan’s president has been wanted by the ICC since 2009 for perpetuating the genocide that killed millions in Darfur, in addition to various other crimes against humanity that include the willful pillage, murder, and attack of civilians as part of a counter-insurgency plan in the south of the country.

As the leader of Sudan, the ICC contended that al Bashir “played an essential role in coordinating, with other high-ranking Sudanese political and military leaders, the design and implementation” of the campaign carried out by the Janjaweed Militia against the civilian population.

His case was the first time the ICC issued the charge of genocide, but al Bashir has yet to be convicted.

Photo via Nico Colombant, VOA news

Jean Pierre Bemba

The Congolese warlord was charged by the ICC in 2008 with murder, rape and torture during the conflict in the Central African Republic in 2002-03.

In October 2010, the ICC reduced the charges to two counts of crimes against humanity and three counts of war crimes

He is also the leader of the militia group the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), which later became a political party.

Saif al Islam Qaddafi. Actually all of the Qaddafis.

The drama in the Qaddafi clan makes Saddam’s family look like Gilmore Girls. Though, Saif, son of Muammar, is the only person on this list who holds a PhD from the London School of Economics. He was charged alongside his father in June 2011 for his role in the brutal crackdown on protesters in the uprising that ousted his father as president.

Saif was captured by rebels soon after his father’s death and he continues to be held by the fighters, who refuse to hand him over.

Adding to the family drama, his bisexual, playboy brother al Saadi Qaddafi, was extradited back to Libya from Niger yesterday and is now being held in a prison in Tripoli.