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Bringing justice to victims of international crimes

Germain Katanga

On 23 May 2014 Katanga was sentenced to 12 years in prison for war crimes

Germain Katanga, alias «Simba», was born on 28 April 1978 in Mambasa, in the district of Ituri, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Married and father of two children, he is believed to be of Ngiti ethnicity. Katanga is understood to have been the highest ranking leader of the Patriotic Resistance Force in Ituri (FRPI) since the beginning of 2003. On 11 December 2004, he was reportedly promoted to the rank of General in the Army of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Between January 2002 and December 2003, over 8'000 civilians died and more than half a million persons were displaced from their home in Ituri as a consequence of the armed conflict between the FRPI and other armed militias in the region of Ituri. Between January 2003 and up until at least March 2003, the FRPI and the Nationalist and Integrationist Front (FNI) were reported to have conducted attacks – in a systematic or widespread manner – against the civilian population in various parts of Ituri.

As the highest ranking commander of the FRPI, Katanga was said to have played an essential role in the planning and the implementation of an indiscriminate attack against the village of Bogoro in Ituri, on or around 24 February 2003, together with other commanders of the FNI. He was also believed to have ordered his subalterns to launch this attack.

On the morning of 24 February 2003, members of Katanga’s militia allegedly entered the village of Bogoro and launched an indiscriminate attack, targeting mainly civilian members of the Hema ethnic group. It was alleged that the FRPI had children under the age of fifteen participate in the attack during which at least 200 civilians were killed. Then those who survived the initial attack were locked up in a building where the bodies of the dead persons had been piled up. Furthermore, women and young girls were abducted to be turned into sexual slaves. Finally, the FRPI ended up totally pillaging the village of Bogoro, thus wiping it off the map.

According to Human Rights Watch, Katanga played a part in leading one of the most important acts of mass murder in Ituri, that of the hospital of Nyakunde in September 2002. Over a 10-day period, his soldiers took part in the mass murder of at least 1’200 Hema, as well as other civilians who had been targeted solely on the ground of their ethnic belonging. The same report by Human Rights Watch alleged that Katanga also led FRPI combatants in other mass murders, notably those which took place in Bunia and Komanda, in 2002 and 2003. However, Katanga’s indictment by the ICC made no mention of these acts.

In early March 2005, Katanga was arrested in a leading Kinshasa hotel by the Congolese authorities, along with eight other members of various Ituri armed groups. These arrests were in connection with an attack against the United Nations MONUC peacekeepers in Ituri on 25 February 2005 in which nine peacekeepers were killed. Soon after, Katanga was transferred to the CPRK detention centre in Kinshasa.

Trial Watch would like to remind its users that any person charged by national or international authorities is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Fact sheet

Congo 2017 Simba The Hague, Netherlands 2017  - 2017 War crimes
Crimes against humanity
Deprivation of life
Infringment of physical integrity
Forbidden methods or means or warfare
Protection of civilians

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