International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Is Local Justice the Best Route for Ntaganda and the DRC?

There is no question that Bosco Ntaganda, war lord extraordinaire of the Democratic Republic of  Congo, must be held accountable for his actions. Over the past several decades, a war has raged in the heart of Africa that he has helped perpetuate, and it has cost thousands of lives. The ICC issued an arrest warrant for him in 2006, but President Kabila has only recently called for his arrest as well. However, the President has also made it very clear that he wishes to try Ntaganda in the Congo instead of shipping him off to The Hague so the ICC can deal with it. 

I, personally, think Kabila has the right idea. 

This article points out that, according to some people in the North Kivu region, “Ntaganda contributed to consolidating of peace in the Kivu region.” While he is guilty of some truly horrible crimes, and needs to be held accountable for it, I doubt the ICC would take this perspective into account. A Congolese based government might be more equipped to speak with people directly affected by Ntaganda, both good and bad, and therefore explore the most appropriate route to justice. 

What do you guys think?

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2 responses to “Is Local Justice the Best Route for Ntaganda and the DRC?

  1. aboampon April 20, 2012 at 1:03 am

    From the interviews given in the last portion of this article it seems that this is a classic example of justice vs peace. The ICC wants to try Ntganda in order to establish justice, but many do not want him tried by the ICC because they would rather have peace. I think this is a really tough situation because my first reaction is to say that justice should never be sacrificed for peace. However, those living in the DRC should be the ones making the decisions for themselves and their country. If the court systems in the DRC have the capacity to try Ntganda they should do so. Similarly, if the government in the DRC wants to skip right to a more localized form of government they should have that prerogative as well.
    The ICC was first created to serve as a court of last resort, and I think that should be remembered in cases like these. As long as the government is willing to deal with the wrongdoings of Ntganda in some fashion, the DRC government should have the first attempts in remedying these problems.

  2. ecadams April 20, 2012 at 10:31 am

    I agree that taking the local people’s view into account is extremely important in these situations. Ideally, I think it would be best to try Ntaganda in the DRC because the closer the justice, the better the chances of real healing in the community. Also, the ICC is still trying to figure out what it means to be a court of last resort, and from other cases we’ve studied this semester, I sometimes that act a bit hastily, and thus don’t get as much justice as hoped for. For instance, Lubanga has committed more crimes than enlisting child soldiers, and the ICC was not able to add any new charges. Ntaganda is also wanted for enlisting child soldiers and like, Lubanga, has committed more crimes. Can the DRC try Ntaganda for more than child soldier enlistment?

    What worries me, however, is the capacity of the DRC to try Ntaganda, and if it would be a fair trial. Remember, the government has been protecting him for six years, so what would stop them from making further deals in the judicial process? I guess I would like the DRC to try Ntaganda, and then have the ICC step in if they are not successful in doing so. The politics could get extremely sticky if this were to happen. but if the DRC is ever going to become a conflict free region, the local government must take steps against impunity and ensuring justice themselves.

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