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Alleged Congolese War Criminal Transferred to The Hague


A former Congolese Army colonel and rebel leader has been arrested and transferred to the International Criminal Court at The Hague where he is facing war crimes charges. From United Nations headquarters in New York, VOA's Margaret Besheer reports the former rebel leader is also being charged with crimes against humanity.

Former rebel leader Mathieu Ngudjolo, 37, arrived at The Hague Thursday afternoon, following his arrest by Congolese authorities the day before in Kinshasa.

Bruno Catala, Registrar of the International Criminal Court, says Ngudjolo, is accused of grave crimes committed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"He is alleged to have committed crimes against humanity and war crimes as set out in Articles 7 and 8 of the statute. The crimes are alleged to have been committed in the territory of the DRC since July 2002," he said.

According to the arrest warrant, those crimes include three counts of crimes against humanity, specifically murder, inhumane acts and sexual slavery, and six counts of war crimes, including using children as soldiers and intentionally directing attacks against civilian populations.

ICC prosecutors say these crimes are linked to the February 2003 attack on the village of Bogoro, in the territory of Ituri, which left more than 200 people dead, most of them of Hema ethnicity. Others were severely maimed and injured and women and girls were sexually enslaved.

Ngudjolo is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Monday.

He is the third person in the ICC's custody. In October, Congolese authorities surrendered and transferred Germain Katanga, an alleged commander of the Patriotic Resistance Force in Ituri (FRPI) - an ally of Ngudjolo. In March 2006, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, the alleged founder and leader of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) was also transferred to The Hague.

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