Michael Kooren/Pool Photo via AP
On Thursday the Former Democratic Republic of the Congo’s rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda told the International Criminal Court that he was not an “infamous killer” but in fact he was a soldier who was trying to protect civilians.
This is the first time that the General has spoken since he surrendered in 2013.
Earlier the same day his defense counsel Luc Boutin argued that “The Union of Congolese Patriots’ (UPC) aim was to take political and military control of Ituri and to protect the population from attacks.
Ntaganda is on trial for 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He has pleaded not guilty to all counts.
The Associated Press news agency reported that Ntaganda stated in court “I have been described as ‘The Terminator’, as an infamous killer, but that is not me.’
“I have never attacked civilians,” he continued, “I have always protected them.”
Sarah Pellet, one of the lawyers representing 297 former child soldiers said “they are victims of rape and sexual violence and some of them gave birth to other victims: Children who will never know their fathers and who are a constant reminder of the reprehensible acts inflicted on their mothers,” AP reported.