March 26, 2013

Ntaganda to Appear in Hague Court Today

A Rare photo of Ntaganda with his Son in a Heavily Fortified Compound
A Rare photo of Ntaganda with his Son in a Heavily Fortified Compound

Congolese war crimes suspect Bosco Ntaganda is set to appear before the International Criminal Court at The Hague for the first time, following his surprise surrender last week.

Gen Ntaganda, a key figure in the conflict in eastern DR Congo, denies war crimes and crimes against humanity.

At Tuesday’s pre-trial hearing he will be informed of the charges – and dates for future appearances will be set.

He faces 10 counts, including rape, murder and using child soldiers.

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

He handed himself in at the US embassy in the Rwandan capital Kigali on 17 March and was flown to the Netherlands, where the war crimes court is based.

Known as “The Terminator”, he 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.

In the courtroom on Tuesday he will be asked to confirm his identity and tell the judges in which language he would like to follow the proceedings.

They are then expected to set a date for the confirmation hearing, which will determine whether there is enough evidence against him stand trial.

‘The Terminator’ at a glance

  • Born in 1973, grew up in Rwanda
  • Fled to DR Congo as a teenager after attacks on fellow ethnic Tutsis
  • At 17, he begins his fighting days – alternating between being a rebel and a soldier, in both Rwanda and DR Congo
  • In 2006, indicted by the ICC for allegedly recruiting child soldiers
  • He is allegedly in charge of troops that carry out the 2008 Kiwanji massacre
  • In 2009, he is integrated into the Congolese national army and made a general
  • In 2012, he defects from the army, sparking a new rebellion which forces 800,000 from their homes
  • In March 2013, hands himself in to US embassy in Kigali

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