Ntaganda is accused of 13 counts of war crimes and five crimes against humanity as the deputy chief of staff and commander of operations of the Patriotic Force for the Liberation of Congo (FPLC). The crimes, relating to attacks against the non-Hema population, were allegedly committed in Ituri, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in 2002-2003.
The ICC also lists a non-international armed conflict between the Union des Patriotes Congolais/Forces Patriotiques pour la Libération du Congo (UPC/FPLC) and other organized armed groups.
The alleged crimes include: murder and attempted murder; attacking civilians; rape; sexual slavery of civilians and enlistment and conscription of children under the age of 15 years.
Ntaganda’s trial began in early September 2015. A year later, he began a hunger strike to protest the conditions of his detention at the ICC, which included restrictions on his phone calls and visitation rights following concerns over witness interference.
Ntaganda, who was nicknamed ‘The Terminator’, had previously claimed that he was a revolutionary, but not a criminal.
Ntaganda’s military career started in Rwanda when he joined the Rwandan Patriotic Front during the 1994 genocide. He then joined a branch of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), before his surrender at the United States Embassy in Rwanda in 2013.