News / Africa

Congolese Rebel Leader Ntaganda Faces ICC

Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda looks on during his first appearance before judges at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, March 26, 2013.
Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda looks on during his first appearance before judges at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, March 26, 2013.
Lisa Bryant
Just days after turning himself in at the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda, Congolese war-crimes suspect Bosco Ntaganda made his first appearance before the International Criminal Court in The Hague. 

After years of fleeing justice, Ntganda finally appeared before the ICC to start a lengthy process to decide whether to press war crime charges against him.

Ntganda spoke in Kinyarwanda, one of the official languages of Rwanda - the Democratic Republic of Congo's tiny neighbor that is often accused of meddling in Congolese affairs.  He said he was born in Rwanda, but identified himself as a Congolese soldier.  He said he understood his rights and the crimes he is accused of, which include murder, rape, pillaging and using child soldiers.

Ntganda said he is not guilty, before being cut off by the presiding judge who said this was not the time to enter a plea.

Ntganda's subdued and soft-spoken manner does not fit with his reputation.  Nicknamed "The Terminator," he allegedly committed atrocities during 15 years as a rebel fighter in mineral-rich eastern Congo.  Most recently, he was considered a key leader of the M23 rebel group, which launched a major offensive against the Congolese government last year, briefly capturing the North Kivu capital of Goma.

At the ICC, he faces accusations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the northeastern Ituri region in 2002 and 2003. He is also accused of recruiting underage soldiers last year for the M23 rebellion.

But it will be months before the court decides whether to pursue the charges against him.  The judge set a provisory date of September 23 to make that decision.  The prosecution and defense are also meeting in mid-April to discuss documents and witnesses each side is pursuing.

Ntgada's appearance Tuesday aids the stature of the criminal court, after the collapse of several cases it was pursuing.  Earlier this month, the ICC dropped crimes-against-humanity charges against a prominent Kenyan politician, citing problematic witnesses and government stonewalling.

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs