The warlord Germain Katanga, who hails from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was recently rearrested after completing a 12-year sentence for crimes against humanity which was handed down by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Germain Katanga

Mr. Katanga stands accused, along with five others, of "war crimes, crimes against humanity and participating in an insurrectional movement" committed in Ituri an area nearby the Ugandan border.

The warlord’s previous sentence was reduced in November for good behavior. Mr. Katanga is only the second person to be sentenced by the ICC since the court began hearing cases in 2003.

Last year, the warlord was flown back to Kinshasa to serve out the remainder of its term which was set to end on January 18.

However, the Congolese authorities have announced they will continue to keep him in prison in order to prosecute him for “other cases”.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has noted that Mr. Katanga has not had time to properly prepare for the new cases brought against him.

His defense counsel has termed his continued detention as “arbitrary and illegal”.

In 2007, he was handed over to the ICC and subsequently convicted for his role in the 2003 attack on the village of Bogoro which left 200 civilians dead.

He also believed to be responsible for the 2005 killing of 9 United Nations (UN) peacekeepers.  

The DRC was wracked by two wars from 1996-2003, the two conflicts left more than 2 million people dead, most of whom were civilians.

The eastern regions of the country remain ravaged by violence mostly motivated by the rich mineral resources available in the area.  This violence has led to mass rape, killing, and enslavement.

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