THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The International Criminal Court passed its longest-ever sentence Thursday, sending a Congolese warlord known as “The Terminator” to prison for 30 years for crimes including murder, rape and sexual slavery.
Bosco Ntaganda was found guilty in July of 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role as a military commander in atrocities during a bloody ethnic conflict in a mineral-rich region of Congo in 2002-2003.
Ntaganda showed no emotion as Presiding Judge Robert Fremr passed sentences ranging from eight years to 30 years for individual crimes and an overarching sentence of 30 years.
The court’s maximum sentence is 30 years, although judges also have the discretion to impose a life sentence. Lawyers representing victims in the case had called for a life term.
Fremr said despite the gravity of the crimes and Ntaganda’s culpability, that his convictions “do not warrant a sentence of life imprisonment.”
Jolino Makelele, a spokesman for the government in Democratic Republic of Congo, said: “We think that justice was done for the victims.”
Ntaganda, who has insisted he is innocent, became a symbol of widespread impunity in Africa in the seven years between first being indicted by the global court and finally surrendering in 2013 as his power base fell apart.
Judges at Ntaganda’s trial said he was guilty as a direct perpetrator of a murder and as an indirect co-perpetrator of a string of crimes including murders, rapes of men and women, a massacre in a banana field and of enlisting and using child soldiers.
Ntaganda himself used child soldiers as bodyguards.
Print Headline: Congolese warlord gets 30-year term