On 17 October 2007, the Congolese authorities surrendered and transferred Mr Germain Katanga, a Congolese national and alleged commander of the Force de résistance patriotique en Ituri [Patriotic Resistance Force in Ituri] (“FRPI”), to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Mr Katanga, also known as “Simba”, is alleged to have committed six war crimes and three crimes against humanity in the territory of Ituri, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (“the DRC”). His case arises from the situation in the DRC which has been under investigation by the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC since 1 July 2002.
Mr Katanga's first appearance will be announced in due course.
On 2 July 2007, Pre-Trial Chamber I issued a sealed warrant of arrest for Mr Katanga after having examined the request and evidence submitted by the Prosecutor. The warrant was unsealed on 18 October 2007. The Chamber found that there were reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Katanga, as the highest ranking FRPI commander, played an essential role in the planning and implementation of an indiscriminate attack against the village of Bogoro, in the territory of Ituri, on or around 24 February 2003.
The Chamber also found that there were reasonable grounds to believe that during and after the attack on the village of Bogoro, the following criminal acts were committed against civilians, primarily of Hema ethnicity: the murder of about 200 civilians; causing serious bodily harm to civilians; arresting, threatening with weapons and imprisoning civilians in a room filled with corpses; pillaging; the sexual enslavement of several women and girls, and the use of children under the age of fifteen years to participate actively in the attack.
The Chamber further found that there were reasonable grounds to believe that a common plan to carry out an attack on the village of Bogoro was agreed upon by Mr Katanga and other commanders of the FRPI and the Front nationaliste et intégrationniste [Nationalist and Integrationist Front] (“FNI”).
Again, according to the Chamber, there were reasonable grounds to believe that the attack on the village of Bogoro took place in the context of an armed conflict in the territory of Ituri, that the attack was jointly launched by the FRPI and the FNI as part of a systematic or widespread attack directed against the civilian population of certain parts of the territory of Ituri, primarily of Hema ethnicity, between January and at least March 2003.
The warrant of arrest for Mr Katanga lists nine counts on the basis of his individual criminal responsibility (articles 25(3)(a) or 25(3)(b)) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court) including:
- three counts of crimes against humanity (murder – article 7(1)(a), inhumane acts – article 7(1)(k), and sexual slavery – article 7(1)(g));
- six counts of war crimes (wilful killing – article 8(2)(a)(i) or 8(2)(c)(i), inhuman treatment – article 8(2)(a)(ii) or cruel treatment – article 8(2)(c)(i), using children under the age of fifteen years to participate actively in hostilities – article 8(2)(b)(xxvi) or article 8(2)(e)(vii), sexual slavery – article 8(2)(b)(xxii) or article 8(2)(e)(vi), intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities – article 8(2)(b)(i) or 8(2)(e)(i), pillaging a town or place even when taken by assault – article 8(2)(b)(xvi) or article 8(2)(e)(v)).
Statement of the Registrar
The Registrar of the Court, Mr Bruno Cathala, welcomes the decision of the Congolese authorities to surrender Mr Katanga to the ICC. “The Congolese authorities have cooperated with the Court in the spirit of the Statute by executing the warrant of arrest and surrendering him”, said the Registrar.
Mr Katanga is the second person in the custody of the ICC. On 17 March 2006, in Kinshasa, Mr Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, a Congolese national and alleged founder and leader of the Union des patriotes Congolais [Union of Congolese Patriots] (UPC), was arrested and transferred to the ICC. The situation in the DRC is one of four situations currently under investigation by the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC.
The other three situations are: the situation in Uganda, in respect of which four arrest warrants have been issued for leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army; the situation in Darfur, Sudan, in respect of which arrest warrants have been issued for Ahmad Muhammad Harun, former Minister of State for the Interior and currently Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs in the Government of the Sudan, and Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman ("Ali Kushayb"), a leader of the Militia/Janjaweed; and the situation in the Central African Republic.