A former Congolese militia leader known to his supporters as Simba or “the lion” has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for his involvement in war crimes by the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
Germain Katanga was implicated in the 2003 massacre of hundreds of villagers in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, This sparked tribal conflict, resulting in the deaths of around 50,000 people.
In a statement read out to the court in The Hague, presiding Judge Bruno Cotte said that the more than six years the 36-year-old former militia leader had spent in ICC custody would be taken into account.
“The scars of the fighting that occurred that day are still be seen today,” Judge Cotte said.
Katanga was found to have procured the weapons – including guns and machetes – used to kill more than 200 of the villagers, but he was acquitted of direct involvement.
He was convictedof being an accessory to one crime against humanity (murder) and four war crimes (murder, attacking a civilian population, destruction of property and pillaging). Katanga was acquitted of one crime against humanity (sexual slavery) and three counts of war crimes (using child soldiers, sexual slavery, rape).