Nobel Peace Prize winner Denis Mukwege has called upon the International Criminal Court (ICC) to keep investigating war crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, following its conviction of ex-warlord Bosco Ntaganda.
ICC judges on Monday convicted Congolese rebel chief Ntaganda, nicknamed “Terminator”, of war crimes including horrific massacres of civilians, sexual enslavement and recruitment of child soldiers.
Ntaganda becomes the first person to be convicted of sexual slavery by the tribunal in The Hague, in a badly-needed boost for prosecutors after a string of high-profile failures.
“The decision in The Hague is a step in the right direction but we must not forget that the instigators of violence in this region continue to hold positions of power in institutions and within the security and defence forces; and as a result, they continue to perpetrate crimes with impunity,” Mukwege wrote in a statement on his foundation’s website.
He said the ICC should continue to work to “break the cycle of violence” in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri and Kivu regions.
Northeastern DRC has been site of fighting between the army and a militia blamed for killing of scores of civilians and forcing thousands from their homes.
Mukwege, whose work in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s war-torn east has made him a global expert on rape as a weapon of war, won the Nobel Peace Prize last year with Yazidi activist Nadia Murad, a survivor of IS sex slavery.
DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi last week described bloodshed in a volatile northeastern province as an “attempted genocide”, after a wave of violence that has killed scores of civilians and forced tens of thousands from their homes in less than a month.
Ituri and North Kivu province, just to the south, are also trying to combat a major epidemic of Ebola that has claimed more than 1,500 lives since last August. Both provinces sit on DR Congo’s eastern border with Uganda.