Leon Maro Ntumwa
Trial Watch would like to remind its users that any person charged by national or international authorities is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Lieutenant Colonel and Chief Maro Ntumwa, known as “Moroccan”, was the right arm of Bedi Mobuli Eng engela, known as “Colonel 106”, a leader of the May-May armed group. From 2005 to 2007 this group fought the Congolese army in order to take possession of Kalahe territory in South Kivu.
The group persecuted hundreds of villagers without accountability. During these attacks, the men were either killed or taken as prisoner to transport looted goods, and women and girls were kept as sex slaves.
The militia was finally defeated in 2007 and its commanders, known as “Colonel 106” and “Moroccan”, were arrested. The first has already been sentenced to life.
Ntumwa Maro was arrested in August 2014.
In 2016, a first fact-finding mission was conducted, followed by a second one in 2017.
He was prosecuted for crimes against humanity for rape, imprisonment, and other inhumane acts as well as war crimes of sexual slavery, looting, attack on the civilian population and against buildings dedicated to religion. He was also prosecuted for participating in an insurrectional movement.
His criminal liability was incurred as a direct perpetrator for committing the crimes listed above individually, jointly or through other persons. Indeed, about 50 victims and witnesses reported abuses incriminating him personally as well as militia acting under his command. The defendant has already admitted to having participated in several attacks in various localities in the DRC.
His trial opened in Kalehe, before the Military Court of South Kivu, on 13 April 2018. He was sentenced on 28 April 2018 to 20 years’ imprisonment for sexual slavery, rape, looting and attack against the civilian population. Reparations have been awarded to a dozen victims for an amount ranging from $ 2’000 to $ 5’000.
The civil responsibility of the Congolese State was however not retained. The judges rejected the argument that the authorities failed in their duty to prevent and protect the civilian population from the ” Moroccan “’s militia.