The Hague, May 21, 2012 (FH) - Presenting its closing arguments before the International Criminal Court (ICC), Germain Katanga’s lawyers stated that the attack of Bogoro occurred because Kinshasa was willing to recapture its Eastern territories, then controlled by militias backed by Uganda and Rwanda.

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Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo are accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly perpetrated during an attack on Bogoro, a village in eastern DRC, on February 24, 2003. According to the defense, their militia was at the time backed by Kinshasa while Bogoro was in the hands of the UPC, a militia backed by Uganda.

According to British lawyer David Hooper, “The attack on the 24 of February was not the picture painted by the prosecution of a powerful warlord, Germain Katanga, falling on village of Bogoro like the wolves on the fold to slake his thirst for ethnic revenge. There were far more powerful interest been served… than he.”

He noted that Kinshasa also had an agreement with Mbusa Nyamwisi, the leader of another militia. “Mbusa became minister of the new government of Kabila », he added.

On the other side, Bosco Ntaganda, against whom the ICC has issued an arrest warrant, was leading the militia in control of Bogoro. “He was commander of UPC, and was doing Rwanda dirty work in Kivu…”, the defence lawyer claimed.

Katanga had no hate against Hemas, another defence lawyer added. According to Caroline Buisman, “he was fighting Ugandese”.

Defense also criticized the investigation, complaining that the prosecution did not meet the fetishists, “who are essentials in this culture”, and that many witnesses were unreliable.

Mathieu Ngudjolo defence lawyers will take the stand for their closing arguments tomorrow.