DR Congo’s Bosco Ntaganda appears at Hague court

By The Citizen

Former Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda is appearing at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

He is accused of committing war crimes in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo a decade ago.

Gen Ntaganda, who denies the charges, surrendered at the US embassy in Rwanda last March as the Congolese M23 rebel movement was fracturing.

The hearing is to decide if there is enough evidence to try him.

He was once one of the ICC’s most wanted suspects, accused of using child soldiers, keeping women as sex slaves, and murder.

When he appeared in The Hague soon after his surrender, he pleaded not guilty, before the judge interrupted him and said he should not enter a plea at this stage.

Gen Ntaganda has fought for a number of rebel groups as well as the Congolese army.

He was believed to be one of the leaders of the M23 rebel movement, but the 13 counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity he faces relate to his involvement with a different rebel group Рin the Ituri region of DR Congo, between 2002-2003.

He was part of the Union of Congolese Patriots rebel group, led by Thomas Lubanga who last year became the only person convicted by the ICC.

Eastern DR Congo has suffered from two decades of violence linked to ethnic rivalries and competition for the control of the area’s rich mineral resources, which has left an estimated five million people dead. BBC