The Hague, March 24, 2011 (FH) - Defence opened its case on Thursday in Germain Katanga trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) with the hearing of the younger brother of the accused, Jonathan Bubachu Baguma.

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Germain Katanga, commander of the Force de résistance patriotique en Ituri (Patriotic Resistance Force in Ituri, FRPI), and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, former leader of the Front des nationalistes et intégrationnistes, (National Integrationist Front, FNI), are accused of three crimes against humanity and seven war crimes, notably for their alleged role in the attack of Bogoro on February 24, 2003 where over 200 people were killed.

According to the witness, 30 year-old and a former student in agronomy, young people from Aveba, a village south of Bunia, "didn't want to give up their village to Ugandans (...) They had to fight against Ugandans, who were burning and looting houses. Youngsters used to fight with primitive weapons, spears, arrows... My friends, the ones I was studying with, were killed".

He explained that Ugandans stayed for about two years in the area. He then stated that his brother Germain "got a firearm from a Ugandan when on the front line". He couldn't tell if he had found it or if he killed a Ugandan to get it.

His testimony resumes on Friday.

The investigation on the crimes committed in DRC started in June 2004. Katanga was arrested and transferred to The Hague on October 17, 2007. His trial opened on November 24, 2009.


© Hirondelle News Agency