Following today's International Criminal Court conviction of Bosco Ntaganda, former leader of an armed opposition group in the Democratic Republic of Congo, for war crimes and crimes against humanity, Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International's Director for East Africa, said:
"We can only hope that today's verdict provides some consolation to those affected by the grotesque crimes perpetrated by Ntaganda and paves the way for his victims and their families to finally obtain a measure of justice and reparations.
"Every day of the seven years that Ntaganda freely roamed the streets of Goma after the International Criminal Court issued his arrest warrant increased the torment that the victims and their families had to endure - to the shame of the DRC authorities and the international community.
"But today, the 2,123 victims in the case can at last begin the process of reparations for all the harm inflicted upon them by Ntaganda."
Ntaganda was convicted of all 13 counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity, including enlisting and conscripting child soldiers, and rape and sexual slavery. A total of 2,123 victims participated in the trial, including former child soldiers and victims of Ntaganda's rebel group.
In 2002, Ntaganda was the Chief of Military Operations in the opposition group Union of Congolese Patriots, the same group to which Thomas Lubanga belonged. Lubanga was convicted by the ICC for the use and recruitment of child soldiers in March 2012, and sentenced to 14 years in prison.
Bosco Ntaganda has the right to appeal today's decision, and he is expected to do so. A separate sentencing hearing will be held in the coming weeks.