Congolese war crimes suspect Gen. Bosco Ntaganda surrendered himself to a US embassy in Rwanda on March 18 and requested extradition to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Ntaganda has been wanted by the ICC since 2006 on charges enlisting and conscripting children under the age of 15 and of using them to participate actively in hostilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from July 2002 to December 2003. Ntaganda remained at large, however, and in 2012 ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II issued a second warrant for Ntaganda’s arrest for additional war crimes and crimes against humanity in contravention of the Rome Statute:
Following a careful analysis of the material presented, the Chamber finds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Ntaganda is criminally responsible as an indirect co-perpetrator (article 25(3)(a) of the Statute) for the crimes against humanity of murder (article 7(1)(a) of the Statute), rape and sexual violence (article 7(1)(g) of the Statute) and persecution (article 7(1)(h) of the Statute) and the war crimes of murder (article 8(2)(e)(i) of the Statute), pillaging (article 8(2)(e)(v) of the Statute) and rape and sexual violence (article 8(2)(e)(vi) of the Statute) … The Chamber recognizes that the arrest of Mr. Ntaganda still appears necessary to ensure his appearance at trial, to ensure that he does not obstruct or endanger the investigation and to precent the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court.
The latest charges stem from evidence presented during the ICC trial of Ntaganda’s superior, DRC militia leader Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison after being convicted of enlisting and conscripting children under the age of 15 and using them to participate actively in hostilities. The US embassy is currently working with the Congolese and Rwandan governments to facilitate Ntaganda’s extradition to the ICC.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called for Ntaganda’s arrest on three separate occasions: most recently a direct appeal in 2012 to DRC President Joseph Kabila, and previously in 2011 during an international conference after its first request in 2010. Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo is a landmark case for the ICC because Lubanga was the first prisoner taken into custody and delivered to the international criminal tribunal in The Hague.
From Jurist, March 19. Used with permission.