ICC Sentences Germain Katanga to 12 Years’ Imprisonment

Germain Katanga at the ICC today (c) ICC

Germain Katanga (c) ICC

Yesterday, the International Criminal Court (ICC) sentenced Germain Katanga to 12 years’ imprisonment.

Katanga was convicted on 7 March 2014 by a majority of Trial Chamber II of murder as a crime against humanity and the war

crimes of murder, attacking a civilian population, destruction of property and pillaging. The majority held that Katanga had contributed to the commission of crimes by the Forces de Résistances Patriotiques en Ituri, an armed group operating in the DRC who carried out an attack against the village of Bogoro on 24 February 2003.

In his summary of the sentencing judgment, Presiding Judge Cotte highlighted the gravity and particular cruelty with which the crimes were committed, resulting in the deaths of numerous civilian victims including women and children. The Chamber considered that the crimes were also clearly committed on a discriminatory basis targeting the mainly ethnic Hema who populated Bogoro village at the time of the attack.

The Chamber relied on Katanga’s conduct after the events in mitigation, in particular his active participation in the demobilisation process of child soldiers in Ituri.

Judge Van den Wyngaert appended a dissenting opinion. The Judge had disagreed firmly with the conviction of Katanga by the majority and her opinion with regards to sentence does not comment on its appropriateness, save for a limited point raised in relation to the calculation of time served.

The Prosecution had initially requested a 22-25 year sentence.

Both the Prosecution and the Defence have the right to appeal against sentence under Article 81 of the Rome Statute on the ground of disproportion between crime and sentence. At present, both the Prosecution and the Defence are appealing the judgment of conviction.

Pending the outcome of his appeal, and unless the Chamber orders otherwise, Katanga will remain in detention at the ICC detention facility in Scheveningen. If the Appeals Chamber upholds his conviction, he will be transferred to serve the remainder of his sentence in one of the States Parties which has reached an agreement with the Court to host convicted persons.