Bogoro, l’œuvre-enquête de Franck Leibovici et Julien Seroussi. #2 The Katanga/Ngudjolo trial: a case study

Investigation by Virginie Bobin

On 24 November 2009, militia leader Germain Katanga appeared before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, which accused him and Mathieu Ngudjolo, another alleged militia leader, of war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed on 24 February 2003 during an attack on the village of Bogoro, in the Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Katanga/Ngudjolo trial, one of the very first cases to be heard by this young court, began six years after the events that reportedly caused the deaths of at least 200 villagers, imprisonment, mutilation and rape. The DRC is indeed the scene of a civil war that is not over. It is marked by a constellation of conflicts that evolve according to shifting alliances, involving no less than eight neighbouring countries, not to mention the commercial interests of private companies. Eleven years after the Bogoro attack, most of the documentary and testimonial evidence submitted by the prosecutor’s office to support the charges against Katanga and Ngudjolo had collapsed. Ngudjolo was acquitted in 2012, while Katanga, in March 2014, was not convicted as the main perpetrator of the crimes for which he was accused but only as an accomplice, and sentenced to 12 years in prison.