DR Congo’s Bosco Ntaganda in ICC custody

22 Mar

22 March 2013

Congolese war crimes suspect Bosco Ntaganda has left Rwanda and is on the way to The Hague in the custody of the International Criminal Court.

Bosco Ntaganda, who handed himself in to the US embassy in Kigali, addresses a news conference in January 2009. Photograph: STR/Reuters

Gen Ntaganda, a key figure in the conflict in eastern DR Congo, surrendered to the US embassy in Kigali on Monday.

The ICC has charged him with 10 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, which Gen Ntaganda denies.

A date for his first appearance before judges is expected to be set soon.

Gen Ntaganda is the first suspect to surrender himself voluntarily to the ICC’s custody.

“This is a good day for victims in the DRC and for international justice,” said ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

“Today those who have long suffered at the hands of Bosco Ntaganda can look forward to the future and the prospect of justice secured.”

Known as “The Terminator”, Gen Ntaganda has fought for a number of rebel groups as well as the Congolese army.

Most recently, he was believed to be one of the leaders of the M23 rebel movement, which has been fighting government troops in the east.

He is accused of seven counts of war crimes and three counts of crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Ituri, DR Congo, between 2002-2003. The charges include enlisting child soldiers, murder, rape and sexual slavery.

The DR Congo government has said that Gen Ntaganda, who comes from the Tutsi ethnic group, crossed into Rwanda on Saturday after he and some of his followers were defeated by a rival faction of the M23 group.

Eastern DR Congo has long suffered from high levels of violence linked to ethnic rivalries and competition for the control of mineral resources.

Source: BBC

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