News / Africa

DRC Warlord Ntaganda Faces ICC Judges Tuesday

FILE - Fugitive Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda attends rebel commander Sultani Makenga's wedding in Goma, December 27, 2009. FILE - Fugitive Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda attends rebel commander Sultani Makenga's wedding in Goma, December 27, 2009.
FILE - Fugitive Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda attends rebel commander Sultani Makenga's wedding in Goma, December 27, 2009.
FILE - Fugitive Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda attends rebel commander Sultani Makenga's wedding in Goma, December 27, 2009.
Peter Clottey
The spokesman for the International Criminal Court (ICC) says the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) warlord Bosco Ntaganda will make his first appearance in court on Tuesday, March 26. 

“The judges will check his identity and will inform him of his rights of a defense and also the charges that are alleged against him,” said ICC spokesman Fadi el-Abdallah.

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

The ICC has tried and convicted Ntaganda’s alleged co-conspirator, Thomas Lubanga, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

“At the end of the hearing [Tuesday] the judges will set the date for the confirmation of charges in another pretrial hearing. That will allow the judges to check whether or not the prosecutor has sufficient evidence to commit the case for a trial, or whether the case should stop at this primary stage, if there is not sufficient evidence,” said el-Abdallah.

The ICC, el-Abdallah says, will provide Ntaganda with a defense attorney for his initial court appearance.

“For the time being, there is a lawyer that has been appointed by the court for the purpose of the hearing. After that, Mr. Bosco Ntaganda will have the possibility to appoint a lawyer of his own choice from the list of counsel that are authorized to present the defense interest before the ICC,” said el-Abdallah.

“Whether the court or Mr. Ntaganda,” continued el-Abdallah, “who will bear the cost that is a matter that would be decided after conducting a financial investigation. But, in the meantime, before the investigation is conducted, it will be the court that would ensure that Mr. Ntaganda is represented.”

El-Abdallah says the ICC has launched an inquiry into whether the Congolese warlord is capable of paying for his own defense attorney.

Ntaganda walked into the U.S. embassy in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, last week after his faction of the Congolese rebel group M23 was routed by fighters under a rival commander.

DRC Information Minister Lambert Mende told VOA Ntaganda’s trial is a boost to the peace process in the restive parts of the country.

“When people like Ntaganda and others will disappear in that region, we think that this will be a chance to [establish] the peace to that region. We think that there are others, but when you remove one, there is hope that this will teach a lesson to others,” said Mende.

Clottey interview with Fadi el-Abdallah, ICC spokesman
Clottey interview with Fadi el-Abdallah, ICC spokesmani
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Comment Sorting
by: Musa
March 26, 2013 10:47 AM
Airlift of weapons into Africa via a third party will get there, the same applies to shipping into African ports.This is impossible to stop. However the underlying cause is politics and greed and guns and other munitions are a means to defeat the ballot box.
"Teaching despots" has failed miserably where different rules are applied to some and not others.

by: Eugene Kabamba from: Ottawa
March 26, 2013 12:45 AM
Congolese who are used to these types of scenarios remain skeptic on the issues about ending war by capturing Bosco Ntaganda, one of those involved in DR Congo war holocaust. After Ntaganda, other people will be prepared again and the International Community will write again about them and even some peace agreements will be required to the DR Congo government. It has been an infernal circle of violence for a decade. The only way to stop killings and massacres in the DR Congo should be to talk to the neighboring states and also countries funding them are the only ones to stop this war trade that invading this country.

They all have the same way of saying that Banyamulenge have been mistreated and discriminated, and that’s why they come to look for Banyamulenge freedoms. This situation has been creating confusion because Banyamulenge don’t mandate them to talk on their behalf. What is known at the international level is completely different from what is on the field. Only few people who have been on the field know about Congo issues. Being on the field does not mean staying in the hotels in Goma, but going in the villages affected by war

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