Bogoro massacre

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Bogoro attack
Part of the Ituri conflict
Location Bogoro, DRC
Coordinates 1°24′30″N 30°16′48″E / 1.4084°N 30.2800°E / 1.4084; 30.2800
Date 24 February 2003
Deaths At least 200
Perpetrators FNI, FRPI

The assault on Bogoro, which occurred on February 24, 2003, was an attack on the village of Bogoro in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by the Nationalist and Integrationist Front (FNI) and the Front for Patriotic Resistance of Ituri (FRPI). The attackers allegedly went on an "indiscriminate killing spree",[1] killing at least 200 civilians, imprisoning survivors in a room filled with corpses, and sexually enslaving women and girls.[2] Two rebel leaders, Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, have been charged by the International Criminal Court with war crimes and crimes against humanity over their alleged role in planning the attack.[3]

Background[edit]

Main article: Ituri conflict

Bogoro is a village in Ituri Province, in the north-east of the DRC. Between 1999 and 2003, Ituri was the scene of a violent conflict between the Lendu, Ngiti and Hema ethnic groups. The Hema-dominated Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) seized control of Bunia, the district capital, in August 2002.[3]

Bogoro was a strategically important town on the road between Bunia and the border with Uganda,[4] with a UPC military camp in the middle of the town.[3][5] The attack aimed to drive the UPC from Bogoro, but it also appeared to be a "reprisal operation against the Hema civilian population".[5] It was part of a plan by Lendu and Ngiti rebels to attack predominantly Hema villages in preparation for an assault on Bunia.[3]

Attack[edit]

On 24 February 2003, hundreds of FNI and FRPI fighters — including children under the age of fifteen[3] — attacked Bogoro with machetes, spears, arrows, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, rocket launchers and semi-automatic weapons.[3][5] According to the ICC, they circled the village and "converged towards the centre on a killing spree",[3] killing at least 200 civilians, imprisoning survivors in a room filled with corpses, and sexually enslaving women and girls.[2] Some residents of the village were killed by setting their houses on fire, others were hacked to death with machetes.[3] The UN reported that 173 of the victims were under the age of 18.[5]

UPC leader Thomas Lubanga claimed that 400 people were killed and 500 were missing after the attack.[4] "The civilian population was very, very coldly massacred," he said.[6]

The attack succeeded in pushing UPC forces out of Bogoro within a few hours and, ten days later, the Lendu and Ngiti drove the UPC from Bunia.[3]

International Criminal Court proceedings[edit]

In March 2004, the DRC government referred the situation in the country to the International Criminal Court (ICC).[7] In July 2007, the Court found that there were reasonable grounds to believe that two rebel leaders, Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, bore individual criminal responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the Bogoro attack, and issued sealed warrants for their arrest.[2][8] Both men were charged with six counts of war crimes (willful killing; inhuman treatment or cruel treatment; using children under the age of fifteen years to participate actively in hostilities; sexual slavery; intentionally directing attacks against civilians; and pillaging) and three counts of crimes against humanity (murder, inhumane acts and sexual slavery).[2][8] They are alleged to have ordered their fighters to "wipe out" the village of Bogoro.[3]

Katanga, who had been held by the Congolese authorities since March 2005, was transferred to the ICC in October 2007.[1] Ngudjolo was arrested by the Congolese authorities on 6 February 2008 and surrendered to the ICC.[9] The two men will be tried jointly;[10] the hearing to confirm the charges against them began on 27 June 2008.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b International Criminal Court (19 October 2007). Statement by Fatou Bensouda, Deputy Prosecutor, during the press conference regarding the arrest of Germain Katanga. Retrieved on 17 July 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d International Criminal Court (2 July 2007). Warrant of arrest for Germain Katanga PDF (202 KB). Retrieved on 17 July 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j International Criminal Court (7 February 2008). Combined Factsheet: Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui PDF. Retrieved on 17 July 2008.
  4. ^ a b Associated Press (1 March 2003). Hundreds of civilians killed in Congo clashes. Retrieved on 17 July 2008.
  5. ^ a b c d United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2004). Special report on the events in Ituri, January 2002-December 2003, pp. 22-23. S/2004/573.
  6. ^ Agence France-Presse (1 March 2003). Rebels claim 300 people are massacred in northeastern DR Congo. Retrieved on 17 July 2008.
  7. ^ International Criminal Court (23 June 2004). The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court opens its first investigation. Retrieved on 17 July 2008.
  8. ^ a b International Criminal Court (6 July 2007). Warrant of arrest for Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui PDF (208 KB). Retrieved on 17 July 2008.
  9. ^ International Criminal Court (7 February 2008). Third detainee for the International Criminal Court: Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui. Retrieved on 17 July 2008.
  10. ^ International Criminal Court (10 March 2008). Decision on the Joinder of the Cases against Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui PDF (527 KB). Retrieved on 17 July 2008.
  11. ^ International Criminal Court (27 June 2008). ICC Cases an opportunity for communities in Ituri to come together and move forward. Retrieved on 17 July 2008.

External links[edit]