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Congolese Warlord in Custody at The Hague

  • VOA News

Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda attends a rebel commander's wedding in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, December 27, 2009.

Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda attends a rebel commander's wedding in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, December 27, 2009.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) says Congolese war crimes suspect Bosco Ntaganda has arrived in The Hague, less than a week after he turned himself in at the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda.

The court said Ntaganda arrived at an ICC detention center in the Netherlands late Friday.

Ntaganda was handed over to ICC custody earlier, flying from the Rwandan capital, Kigali, to The Hague.

The ICC says Ntaganda will make his initial appearance in court on Tuesday.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed the transfer as "an important moment for all who believe in justice and accountability."

A spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, Caitlin Hayden, said that Ntaganda has eluded justice for nearly seven years. She said bringing him to justice is an important step toward ending the cycle of impunity in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ntaganda is charged with 10 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The court says that as leader of an armed group in the eastern DRC, Ntaganda was criminally responsible for the use of child soldiers and acts of murder, rape and sexual slavery.

His alleged co-conspirator, Thomas Lubanga, has been tried and convicted by the ICC and sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Ntaganda walked into the U.S. embassy in Kigali on Monday, after his faction of the Congolese rebel group M23 was routed by fighters under a rival commander.

There was some speculation Rwanda might try to block his transfer to the ICC, because of the country's alleged support for M23.

But Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo confirmed on her Twitter account that Ntaganda had left Kigali.

Mushikiwabo said Friday that the government "provided requested cooperation to the U.S. and Dutch governments which worked on this transfer."

Rwanda has denied supporting M23.

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