[11/11/19] – Bosco Ntaganda Sentencing

Bosco Ntganda is one of history’s more viscous military leaders. Starting in the 1990’s Ntganda, otherwise known as “The Terminator,” is alleged to have played a role in killing thousands of Africans, enlisting child soldiers, raping women, and generally pillaging homes and families for decades. On the run since 2006 when a warrant was issued for his arrest, in 2013, Ntganda handed himself over to authorities and was immediately transferred to The Hague where he was eventually tried, and convicted, of numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity. Speculation surrounding his surrender include the possibility it was the result of him being forced by the Rwandan government and/or due to infighting among his soldiers and other factions of a movement known as M23, led by Sultani Makenga. This week, Ntganda received the heaviest penalty ever handed down by the International Criminal Court of 30 years. Ntganda has appealed, but if this sentence holds, he will be 76 when he is released from prison. This week we explore motivations and rationalizations of individuals to commit such atrocities, sanctions for deviant acts, and how various theories can be used to explain the social factors and consequences related to the issue of war criminals.

Instructors, click on the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt, a debate question, as well as other assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for Bosco Ntaganda Sentencing

Learning Objectives

LO1: Discuss how the behavior of war criminals is influenced by social factors.

LO2: Explain how the social construction of race/ethnicity can lead to genocidal behavior.

LO3: Understand the relationship between conflict and colonialism.


ICC sentences Congolese rebel chief Ntaganda to 30 years in jail

The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Thursday sentenced Congolese former rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda to 30 years in prison after he was convicted earlier this year of war crimes and sexual slavery.

Bosco Ntaganda – Wanted for War Crimes

Bosco Ntaganda is wanted by the International Criminal Court for recruiting and using child soldiers in northeastern Congo. But since his arrest warrant was unsealed in 2008, Ntaganda was made a general in the Congolese army. He has also continued to recruit children to fight and has played a role in ethnic massacres, killings, rape and torture.

ICC Sentences Congo Warlord Bosco Ntaganda to 30 Years in Prison

The International Criminal Court passed its highest ever sentence Thursday, sending a Congolese warlord known as “The Terminator” to prison for 30 years for crimes including murder, rape and sexual slavery.

Discussion Questions

How might the findings from Stanley Milgram’s electric shock experiment be applied to explaining why Ntganda’s soldiers felt comfortable terrorizing civilians in the name of economic expansion? How might the effect of authority be different for adult and child soldiers?

Why might people rationalize the extermination of an entire group of people along the lines of race/ethnicity? How do divisive narratives about people deemed different from us facilitate such fertile grounds for animosity?

How do the governments that fund the armies led by Generals like Ntganda avoid deviant labels for their role in the ethnic cleansing of millions of Rwandans and Congolese? What is the role of government when such of the bloodshed comes from fighting over mineral rich territories?

What is an appropriate sanction for Ntganda’s role in the attempted genocide of ethnic Rwandans and Congolese? What are your thoughts on the 30-year sentence? Too harsh? Too lenient? What punishment is most appropriate in an effort to correct Ntganda’s behavior and prevent others from seeking to similarly abuse their access to military resources?

How might the experience of being terrorized by Ntganda and his soldiers influence an individual’s personality and sense of reality? How might the experience of being a child solider influence the socialization process into adulthood? How is it possible to correct these experiences through intensive resocialization?



Which of the following best describes the findings of Stanley Milgram’s electric shock test?
a. People who speed on the road also cheat on tests.
b. Cheating on a spouse is shown to increase one’s lifetime earnings.
c. People justify their actions towards others by claiming influence by authority figures.
d. College students are more likely to study when there are shocks put into their desk chairs.

Countries expanding their reach through militaristic force and ideological domination into territories rich in resources deemed valuable by their leaders that are already occupied by other populations is best described as _______.
a. Manifest Destiny
b. Colonialism
c. Displacement
d. War Crimes

What was the primary justification Netganda is alleged to have used to mobilize hundreds of soldiers to commit such horrible acts against men, women, and children?
a. Ethnic inferiority of their enemy
b. Opportunities to capture and sell humans to traffickers
c. Land acquisition
d. All of the above



Photo credit: iStockphoto.com/RollingEarth

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