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For Immediate Release

ICC Finds Germain Katanga Guilty of War Crimes, but Acquits Him of Sexual Violence Charges

Case Still Sets a Precedent for Sexual Violence Crimes

Media Contact

Vesna Jaksic Lowe, MS

Media Relations Manager, New York
Tel: 917-679-0110

New York, NY - 03/07/2014

The International Criminal Court (ICC) today found Germain Katanga of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) guilty of war crimes, but acquitted him of sexual offences in the first case that specifically involved these charges.

"Despite today’s mixed verdict, the Katanga case has moved the needle forward on sexual and gender-based crimes, as the court heard evidence of sexual violence among the charges for the first time," said Karen Naimer, director of the Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones Program at Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). "This development demonstrates the court’s commitment to enforce accountability for these crimes, and reminds us just how critical it is to collect, document, and preserve forensic medical evidence in order for these cases to succeed."

The court addressed charges of sexual violence for the first time, unlike in the case of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo of the DRC, who in 2012 became the first person convicted by the ICC.

The Hague-based court had charged Katanga with seven counts of war crimes and three counts of crimes against humanity, including sexual slavery and rape, over atrocities that took place in the village of Bogoro in the DRC in 2003. The case marks the third trial judgment issued in the court’s 12-year history. This case was at one point combined with that of Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, who was acquitted earlier due to insufficient and unreliable evidence.

Katanga was found guilty of four counts of war crimes and one count of crime against humanity. Find more about the verdict here.

To learn about PHR’s Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones Program, visit the program page on our website.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an independent organization that uses medicine and science to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. We are supported by the expertise and passion of health professionals and concerned citizens alike.

Since 1986, PHR has conducted investigations in more than 40 countries around the world, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, the United States, the former Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe.

  • 1986 — Led investigations of torture in Chile gaining freedom for heroic doctors there
  • 1988 — First to document the Iraqi use of chemical weapons on Kurds providing               evidence for prosecution of war criminals
  • 1996 — Exhumed mass graves in the Balkans and Rwanda to provide evidence for               International Criminal Tribunals
  • 1997 — Shared the Nobel Peace Prize for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines
  • 2003 — Warned US Policymakers on health and human rights conditions prior to and               during the invasion of Iraq
  • 2004 — Documented genocide and sexual violence in Darfur in support of international               prosecutions
  • 2010 — Investigated the epidemic of violence spread by Burma’s military junta
  • 2011 — Championed the principle of noninterference with medical services in times of               armed conflict and civil unrest during the Arab Spring
  • 2012 — Trained doctors, lawyers, police, and judges in the Democratic Republic of the               Congo, Kenya, and Syria on the proper collection of evidence in sexual               violence cases
  • 2013 — Won first prize in the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention with MediCapt, our               mobile app that documents evidence of torture and sexual violence

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