The ICC prosecutor has asked for a 22-25 year sentence for rebel leader Germain Katanga, convicted earlier this year for crimes against humanity and war crimes in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Judges will announce their decision on 23 May.
During a sentencing hearing 5 and 6 May, a leader from the town of Bogoro where the crimes were committed testified for the prosecution that the adverse impact of the 24 February 2003 attack is still felt within the community, with increased poverty its main consequence.
Two defense witnesses also testified, describing Katanga’s role in the demobilization of child soldiers, rescue of abducted NGO employees and the peace process.
The prosecutor called for a sentence appropriate to the impact of the crimes committed and recommended a sentence of 22 to 25 years. She argued that Katanga should not get a lesser sentence because he was convicted as an accessory and not a direct perpetrator because there is no hierarchy in the modes of liability.
The legal representative for victims in the case requested that the judges consider the vulnerability of the victims and their ongoing struggle to rebuild their lives.
The defense stressed that Katanga’s involvement with the attack was very limited, and asked the judges to consider his age and background circumstances during the attack, and mitigating circumstances like his active involvement in the peace process.
It also requested a reduced sentence based on the years Katanga has already spent in custody.
Taking the floor, Katanga stated that he never intended to kill and that he had no control over the decisions made by the leaders. He also asked the judges why the main perpetrators were not being prosecuted.
Katanga was convicted on 7 March as an accessory of one count of crimes against humanity and four counts of war crimes committed during an attack on the village of Bogoro, in the eastern Ituri district of the DRC on 24 February 2003.