The International Criminal Court has convicted Congolese former rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda, dubbed the “Terminator”, as guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Ntaganda, 45, has been charged with overseeing the slaughter of civilians by his soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s volatile, mineral-rich Ituri region in 2002 and 2003. His sentence will be determined at a later hearing.
Prosecutors gave horrific details of victims including some who were disembowelled and had their throats slit, as part of the evidence during his three-year trial in The Hague.
The soft-spoken Ntaganda – known for his pencil moustache and a penchant for fine dining – told judges during his trial that he was “soldier not a criminal” and that the “Terminator” nickname did not apply to him.
Ntaganda had faced 13 counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity for his role in the brutal conflict that wracked the northeastern region.
Prosecutors portrayed him as the ruthless leader of ethnic Tutsi revolts amid the wars that wracked the Democratic Republic of Congo after the 1994 genocide of Tutsis in neighbouring Rwanda.
More than 60,000 people have been killed since the violence erupted in the region in 1999 according to rights groups, as militias battle each other for control of scarce mineral resources.
Last year, Ntaganda told the ICC that the allegations against him were ” nothing more than lies”.
“I am a revolutionary, but not a criminal,” he said.