July 9th, 2019
We welcome the guilty verdict issued yesterday by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Bosco Ntaganda.
This judgment restores confidence in international criminal justice and is also a source of hope for the victims of Ituri and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
This long-awaited decision shows us that the humanitarian community has both a moral and legal obligation to draw a red line against war criminals. From those who target civilians, to those who rape, to those who disembowel pregnant women and to those who use girls as slaves, all war criminals must be prosecuted and tried.
We remain convinced that there will be neither lasting peace nor reconciliation in the Great Lakes region or the DRC without justice, truth and reparations for survivors and other affected communities.
The decision in The Hague is a step in the right direction but we must not forget that the instigators of violence in this region continue to hold positions of power in institutions and within the security and defense forces; and as a result, they continue to perpetrate crimes with impunity.
That is why we invite the ICC to continue investigations in the DRC to break the cycle of violence that prevails in Ituri, in the Kivus and elsewhere to this day. We also call upon the states of the Great Lakes region to cooperate and provide transparent legal assistance to the ICC in order to bring perpetrators of international crimes to justice.
In this period marked by the temptation to retreat behind national boundaries, we also urge the international community to intervene when populations are threatened or held hostage by those in power. Sovereignty emanates from the people – it cannot be claimed by those who cannot protect the people, nor guarantee their basic needs, and especially not while threatening peace and international security. Finally, we urge the States Parties to the Rome Statute to mobilise themselves in order to allocate the resources necessary for the ICC to fulfil its mandate.