After several painful years of waiting, the International Criminal Court has finally released its verdict declaring Bosco Ntaganda guilty of multiple crimes including acts of rape and sexual violence. As victims of these atrocities, we salute the work done by the ICC, which tempers our anger and give us hope. Deep down, we are inspired that other criminals can be charged so that the hearts of thousands of raped women can find some solace and the millions of souls lost to years of violence in DRC may finally rest in peace. As long as there is no justice, there will always be deaths in our bodies and in our souls. If Bosco Ntaganda can be indicted, it proves that with sufficient will and provision of necessary means the remaining militia leaders who continue to sow desolation in the DRC can also be charged. Judgements are not enough though, reparations must be put in place for communities to rebuild.
As victims of this inhumane cruelty, we are relieved but we look forward to other heartless warlords like Bosco Ntaganda being put away for good, so that they can never harm anyone ever again. Only then will we truly know peace in our hearts, the peace that has been forcefully torn out of us for too long. Let this conviction not only be an example, but the first of many.
Tatiana Mukanire (National Coordinator of the Mouvement des Survivant.e.s de Viols et Violences Sexuelles en RDC)