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News update: Ntaganda in the ICC’s custody

March 22, 2013

From the ICC’s news service:

Bosco Ntaganda, against whom the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued two arrest warrants, surrendered himself voluntarily and is now in the ICC’s custody. Bosco Ntaganda is currently escorted by an ICC delegation that has left Kigali (Rwanda) heading to the ICC detention centre in The Hague (Netherlands).

Upon arrival, Mr Ntaganda will receive a medical visit and will appear, as soon as possible, before the Judges in the presence of a Defence Lawyer. The date of the initial appearance hearing will be announced soon. During the initial appearance hearing, the Judges of Pre-Trial Chamber II will verify the identity of the suspect and the language in which he is able to follow the proceedings. Mr Ntaganda will be informed of the charges against him. The Judges will also schedule a date for the opening of the confirmation of charges hearing, a preliminary step to decide whether the case will be referred to a trial or not

This is the first time that a suspect has surrendered himself voluntarily to be in the ICC’s custody. The Court is thankful for the support and cooperation of the Dutch and American authorities, both in Kigali (Rwanda) and in the Netherlands. This operation would not have been possible without the support of the Rwandese authorities.

The cooperation of the Congolese State has been essential for the ICC investigations in Ituri and in the Kivus (Democratic Republic of the Congo). The ICC issued two warrants of arrest for Bosco Ntaganda on 22 August 2006 and on 13 July 2012. As the former alleged Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Forces Patriotiques pour la Libération du Congo [Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo] (FPLC), Mr Ntaganda is suspected of seven counts of war crimes (enlistment of children under the age of 15, conscription of children under the age of 15, using children under the age of 15 to participate actively in hostilities; murder, attacks against the civilian population, rape and sexual slavery, and pillaging) and three counts of crimes against humanity (murder, rape and sexual slavery, and persecution) allegedly committed in Ituri (Democratic Republic of the Congo) between 1 September 2002 and the end of September 2003.

For more information on M23 and Ntaganda, see this recent post.

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