Germain Katanga appears before Pre-Trial Chamber

Germain Katanga, alleged commander of the Patriotic Resistance Force in Ituri (FRPI) and General in the Army of the Democratic Republic of Congo, was arrested in March 2005 in relation to an attack on MONUC peacekeepers which resulted in the death of nine in February 2005. Katanga was held at the Penitentiary and Reeducation Center of Kinshasa from March 2005 until his surrender by Congolese authorities to the International Criminal Court in The Hague on October 17, 2007.

Katanga is accused of six counts of war crimes and three counts of crimes against humanity. The Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court found that there were reasonable grounds to believe that as the highest ranking officer, Katanga played a pivotal role in planning and implementing an indiscriminate attack on village of Bogoro in Ituri on or around February 24, 2003. The attack involved the murder of about 200 civilians, imprisoning survivors in a room full of corpses, pillaging, sexual enslavement of women and children, and using children to participate in the attack.

Germain Katanga’s first appearance at the ICC was held on October 22, 2007. Brazilian Judge Sylvia Steiner was assigned by the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber as the judge in this case. Katanga was informed of his rights, including the right to apply for interim release pending trial, and advised to appoint a defense lawyer as soon as possible. A hearing to determine whether the charges against him are strong enough to merit trial has been schedule for February 28, 2008. Prosecutors will present a summary of their evidence to Judge Steiner who will make the decision at this hearing.

For more information please see the official ICC website.

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