The Hague/Kigali: The International Criminal Court on Tuesday welcomed wanted DR Congo rebel Bosco Ntaganda’s surrender to the US embassy in Kigali and said they wanted him transferred to The Hague as soon as possible.
“The ICC welcomes news of Bosco [Ntaganda’s] surrender,” the Office of the Prosecutor said in an email to AFP. “We will liaise with the relevant authorities in the region to facilitate his immediate surrender to the ICC.”
“This is great news for the people of the DR Congo who had to suffer from the crimes of an ICC fugitive for too long,” it added.
Ntaganda, who is wanted by the ICC for a string of alleged atrocities, surrendered to the US embassy in the Rwandan capital on Monday.
US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said he has asked to be transferred to the ICC — the world’s permanent independent war crimes court — and Washington is in contact with the ICC and the Rwandan government.
DR Congo officials said on Sunday that Ntaganda had fled to neighbouring Rwanda, which has been accused by Kinshasa and the United Nations of masterminding, arming and even commanding M23 rebels in the resource-rich east of the vast country.
Ntaganda, a former general nicknamed “The Terminator” and widely seen as the instigator of the M23 group’s rebellion against Kinshasa last year, is wanted by the ICC on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity including rape, murder and recruiting child soldiers.
Meanwhile, Rwanda said its country would not get involved in any potential transfer of Ntaganda to the International Criminal Court (ICC) after he surrendered to the US embassy.
Ntaganda — who is wanted by the ICC for a string of alleged atrocities including rape and sexual slavery — gave himself up to the US embassy in Kigali on Monday after escaping to Rwanda from neighbouring DR Congo.
“Rwanda has no decision to take in this matter,” Foreign Minister Louis Mushikiwabo said on Tuesday.
“It is a matter for the United States who are holding the suspect, the DR Congo — the country whose nationality the suspect holds — and the ICC, by whom the suspect is wanted.”
Ntaganda is sought on seven counts of war crimes and three counts of crimes against humanity for his alleged abuses in two regions of DR Congo — Ituri and North Kivu. Charges against him include using child soldiers, murder, rape and sexual slavery.
DR Congo officials said on Sunday he had fled to neighbouring Rwanda, which has been accused by Kinshasa and the United Nations of masterminding, arming and even commanding M23 rebels in the resource-rich east of the country.