By Ritah Kemigisa
The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court has upheld the 30-year prison sentence handed to DRC’s Bosco Ntaganda.
The chamber has delivered its judgments confirming, by the majority, the decision of Trial Chamber VI of 8 July 2019, which found Bosco Ntaganda guilty of 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed in Ituri, Democratic Republic of the Congo, in 2002-2003.
The Appeals Chamber also unanimously confirmed the Trial Chamber’s decision of 7 November 2019, by which Ntaganda was sentenced to a total of 30 years of imprisonment.
The conviction and the sentence are now final.
Ntaganda and the Prosecutor had appealed the verdict, while Ntaganda independently appealed the sentencing judgment.
In today’s hearing, Judge Howard Morrison, Presiding Judge in these appeals, read a summary of the judgments in open court in the presence of Ntaganda.
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the judgment was delivered on a partially virtual basis, with participation either from the seat of the Court or from separate locations outside the Court.
The Appeals Chamber found that Ntaganda did not demonstrate that his right to a fair trial was violated and also determined that, in convicting Ntaganda, the Trial Chamber did not exceed the facts and circumstances described in the charges.
The Appeals Chamber also rejected his challenge to the Trial Chamber’s finding that the crimes for which he was found to be criminally responsible were part of an attack directed against a civilian population pursuant to, or in furtherance of, an organizational policy.
It further rejected Ntaganda’s challenge to the Trial Chamber’s findings on indirect co-perpetration.
The Appeals Chamber also found that the Trial Chamber provided a reasonable assessment of the evidence regarding Ntaganda’s knowledge and intent of the crimes of rape and sexual enslavement of individuals under the age of 15, the recruitment, conscription, and use of individuals under the age of 15 in hostilities and in relation to the remaining crimes.
The Appeals Chamber also rejected the Prosecutor’s grounds of appeal on the interpretation of the term ‘attack’ in article 8(2) (e)(iv) of the Rome Statute.
In relation to the appeal against the sentence imposed, the Appeals Chamber rejected Ntaganda’s challenge to the Trial Chamber’s assessment of his degree of participation in and knowledge of the crimes, including the crime of sexual enslavement and rape of civilians.