For Immediate Release
The International Criminal Court (ICC) today found Germain Katanga of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) guilty of war crimes, but acquitted him of sexual offences in the first case that specifically involved these charges.
"Despite today’s mixed verdict, the Katanga case has moved the needle forward on sexual and gender-based crimes, as the court heard evidence of sexual violence among the charges for the first time," said Karen Naimer, director of the Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones Program at Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). "This development demonstrates the court’s commitment to enforce accountability for these crimes, and reminds us just how critical it is to collect, document, and preserve forensic medical evidence in order for these cases to succeed."
The court addressed charges of sexual violence for the first time, unlike in the case of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo of the DRC, who in 2012 became the first person convicted by the ICC.
The Hague-based court had charged Katanga with seven counts of war crimes and three counts of crimes against humanity, including sexual slavery and rape, over atrocities that took place in the village of Bogoro in the DRC in 2003. The case marks the third trial judgment issued in the court’s 12-year history. This case was at one point combined with that of Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, who was acquitted earlier due to insufficient and unreliable evidence.
Katanga was found guilty of four counts of war crimes and one count of crime against humanity. Find more about the verdict here.
To learn about PHR’s Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones Program, visit the program page on our website.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.