The Hague, November 7, 2011 (FH) - Testifying in his own defence before the International Criminal Court (ICC), Mathieu Ngudjolo has denied participating in the massacres of civilians at Bogoro (Eastern DRC) in 2003.

1 min 11Approximate reading time

"On February 24 at 5.00 a.m., Mama Jeanne woke me up", he told the court in Lingala, the lingua franca in the Western half of the DRC. The midwife of Kambutso village needed help for a difficult delivery and came to ask assistance from Ngudjolo, a trained nurse. "We could hear crackling gunfire in Bogoro", he explained. "We had to hurry to save the newborn. Unfortunately, he died three hours later (...) I  watched over the mother until the end of the day".

The father of six, Mathieu Ngudjolo told the court that he had joined Mobutu's Civil Guard in 1994 while pursuing his nurse studies. In 2000, he opened a care center in Kambutso, while "chaos" reached Eastern DRC, a region which "had fallen into the hands of Ugandans, Rwandans and Burundians", according to the defendant.

"Prosecution witnesses said they saw you in Bogoro on February 24 at around 11.00 am", Defence counsel Jean-Pierre Fofé reminded him. Ngudjolo replied : "A man can't be everywhere, unless he's God".

The accused denied sending fighters to Bogoro and added that he didn't have any modern means of communications : "We used drums, bells, goat horns... - that was it".

Ngudjolo also claimed that he could not have planned the attack of Bogoro, as he only became a rebel fighter several weeks after the massacre, meeting only then for the first time his co-accused Germain Katanga.

Mathieu Ngudjolo was arrested in February 2008 for crimes against humanity and transferred to The Hague. He has been in the box since October 27. His testimony will continue this week.  


 © Hirondelle News Agency