International court issues warrant for DRC militia chief

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for a fourth militia leader from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), for recruiting child soldiers to fight in the country’s devastating civil war, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Bosco Ntaganda was charged for his actions during the conflict in the eastern province of Ituri, said a statement from the ICC. The warrant was filed under seal on August 22 2006, but only now made public.

Ntaganda (35) was a former senior officer with the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of the Congo (FPLC), said the statement from an ICC prosecutor.

Know as The Terminator, he was a former associate of militia leader Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, whose own war-crimes trial starts June 23 at the ICC. Lubanga is also accused of having forced children to fight with the FPLC.

Ntaganda was thought to be active in the eastern Kivu regions as chief of staff of another militia group, the National Congress for the Defence of the people (CNDP), the prosecutor’s statement added.

“We count on all concerned states authorities and actors to contribute to his arrest and surrender him to the court,” it said.

“The CNDP is one of the groups against which there are credible reports of serious crimes committed in the two Kivu provinces — including sexual crimes of unspeakable cruelty,” said the statement.

The court also suspected other groups of similar crimes, including the Rwandan Hutu rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda and individual soldiers serving with the government forces.

The warrant against Ntaganda is the fourth issued by the ICC judges.

The other three suspects — Lubanga, Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ndgudjolo Chui — are already in custody awaiting trial. — AFP

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