This week, the International Criminal Court (ICC) found substantial grounds to try former Congolese general Bosco Ntaganda for 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. If the prosecution finds him guilty, it could help pave the way for international players to bring other warlords like Joseph Kony to justice.
Ntaganda led several violent rebel groups that have been committing mass violence for over a decade. Like Kony, he has committed major crimes like abducting child soldiers and sex slaves – and both leaders’ rebel groups have been active in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ntaganda was indicted by the ICC in 2006. He led a violent rebel group in northeastern Congo in the early 2000s, then a peace agreement in 2009 led him, along with his troops, to join the Congolese army. He led a mutiny in 2012 and formed a new rebel group called M23. He surrendered in March of last year after friction broke out within his group, and he has been awaiting trial since then. According to Geraldine Mattioli-Zeltner, international justice advocacy director at Human Rights Watch:
“Ntaganda’s upcoming trial will send a powerful message to those responsible for grave crimes in Congo that justice will eventually catch up with them.”
The ICC has not released a trial date yet, but we’ll be following the case as it progresses. It could be a significant step forward for international justice efforts, as we’ve seen a major warlord peacefully surrender, and prosecutors have built a strong enough case to bring him to trial.
Every warlord should answer for their crimes. See what we’re doing to dismantle the LRA and bring Joseph Kony to justice.