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 British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Multimedia Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid