News / Africa

Warlord's Surrender Could Herald New Chapter For Congo

Congolese M23 rebels carry goods in the back of a truck near the Congo-Uganda border town of Bunagana, DRC, December 5, 2012.
Congolese M23 rebels carry goods in the back of a truck near the Congo-Uganda border town of Bunagana, DRC, December 5, 2012.
Gabe Joselow
Accused Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda walked into the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda's capital on Monday and asked to be sent to the International Criminal Court.  Despite facing charges of crimes against humanity, Ntaganda apparently assumed he would be safer in The Hague than on the battlefield of eastern Congo.
 
By turning himself in to U.S. diplomats in Kigali, Ntaganda has essentially retired from a career as a rebel soldier-turned-general in eastern Congo.
 
The exact circumstances of why he chose to surrender and why he went to the U.S. Embassy are uncertain.  But during the past few weeks, his faction of the M23 militant group had been defeated in fighting with soldiers under rival commander Sultani Makenga.
 
Ntaganda is now running for his life, said International Crisis Group central Africa director Thierry Vircoulon.
 
“So I think really what happened yesterday was the move of a man who had no other option left," he said.
 
Ntaganda had evaded an ICC arrest warrant for war crimes committed during an armed rebellion in eastern Congo in the early 2000s, including murder, rape and sexual slavery.
 
Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga awaits his sentence in the courtroom of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, July 10, 2012.Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga awaits his sentence in the courtroom of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, July 10, 2012.
x
Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga awaits his sentence in the courtroom of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, July 10, 2012.
Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga awaits his sentence in the courtroom of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, July 10, 2012.
His alleged co-conspirator, Thomas Lubanga, has been tried and convicted by the ICC and sentenced to 14 years in prison for the forced conscription of child soldiers, a charge Ntaganda is also facing.
 
If Ntaganda is brought to trial, it could have a significant impact on the region, said Human Rights Watch Senior Researcher Carina Tertsakian.
 
“Bosco Ntaganda himself has been responsible for some of the worst crimes and abuses committed in Congo for more than 10 years now, so it would be hugely significant in that respect, that one of the worst war criminals would finally be made to face justice,” she said.
 
Tertsakian notes that Ntaganda is not the only rebel leader carrying out abuses in Congo, and that if he does face justice it could serve as a deterrent to the others.
 
Human Rights Watch and U.N. researchers have accused Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebellion, and of harboring Ntaganda, a charge Rwanda strongly denies. The U.S. State Department says the embassy in Kigali is consulting with Rwanda to arrange Ntaganda’s transfer to The Hague.
 
Rwandan Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama said in an interview with VOA that government will allow the law to take its course.
 
“There is, as far as we are concerned, no legal impediments, no legal issues that would require any special facilitation from the Rwandan government, other than providing what you would call safe passage,” Karugarama said.
 
As for what happens next in the Congo, analysts expect Ntaganda’s absence could make room for a peace deal with the remaining M23 fighters, who defected from the Congolese army last year. It will be easier politically for Kinshasa to negotiate with M23 commander Makenga, Vicroulon said.
 
“Now the Congolese government is going to be able to sign a peace deal with a leader that is, let’s say, less embarrassing than Bosco Ntaganda," he said. "I would not say more legitimate of course.”
 
The Congolese government had refused to arrest Ntaganda in the past, insisting his influence was essential to ensuring a peace deal.  But Kinshasa has since changed its position and now says it welcomes the surrender of the former general. 
 
DRC spokesman Lambert Mende told VOA’s English to Africa service Monday that Ntaganda being brought to trial would be a “very big achievement” for the peace process.

You May Like

Beloved Lion Killing Sparks Virtual, Real Life Outrage

Twitter, as usual, was epicenter for anger directed at Palmer, with some questioning his manhood, calling for him to be released into the wild More

Video Booming London Property Market a Haven for Dirty Money

Billions of dollars from proceeds of crime, especially from Russia, being laundered through London property market, according to anti-corruption activists More

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

One former Scout leader thinks organization will move past political, social debate, get back to its primary focus of turning boys into good citizens More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Benjamin Likute Mauma from: South Africa / Cape Town
March 23, 2013 9:03 AM
The congolese people welcome the surrender et transfer of the Rwandese war lord Bosco Ntanganda. We hope strongly that this is the beginning of a peace process for our country.
However we wonder why a congolese tribe (Tutsi) need their own police force to protect them? Does this means that every tribe should have it own police force?

Benjamin Likute Bauma
South Africa / Cape Town

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs