Popularly known as “The Terminator”, Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda has been convicted on Monday by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on various charges of war crimes including murder, rape and conscripting child soldiers.
The 45-year-old former military General will be sentenced later for the acts committed in 2002 and 2003 while he was a leader of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) militia in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Reuters reports.
Ntanganda took part in the rebellion that overthrew the Hutu-led Rwanda in 1994 and then went North to Congo, where he committed numerous massacres and other serious human rights abuses.
Not only did he recruit child soldiers, he also encouraged them to rape and sexually assault women. He later surrendered to the International Criminal Court in 2013 and was officially charged with 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by himself and his militia fighters.
An arrest warrant was issued for him under seal in 2006 by the ICC and was unsealed in 2008 yet, he was never arrested despite living openly between Congo and Rwanda. The reason why he handed himself in to the U.S. embassy in Kigali, Rwanda, in 2013 is still unknown but it is believed it was due to pressure from the Rwandan authorities.
His trial began in 2015 and it involved eighty witnesses including victims and thirteen experts.
Bosco Ntaganda was born in Kinigi in the foothills of Rwanda’s Virunga mountain range in Musanze. He fled the town as a teenager to Ngungu-Masisi in eastern DR Congo when the attacks on Tutsis started in Rwanda.
He joined the Rwandan Patriotic Front rebels in southern Uganda at the age of 17 while he had already acquired Congolese citizenship.