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US urges transfer of Congolese warlord to ICC

Washington wants M23 commander Bosco Ntaganda, known as "Terminator", out of its Rwanda embassy and sent to The Hague.
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2013 08:16

The US is seeking the swift transfer of a Congolese warlord from its embassy in Rwanda to a war crimes tribunal at The Hague for a trial that could help eastern Democratic Republic of Congo move towards peace.

Bosco Ntaganda, nicknamed the "Terminator", gave himself up to the US embassy in Kigali on Monday after a 15-year career that spanned a series of Rwandan-backed rebellions in eastern Congo.

He asked to be sent to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague where he faces war crimes charges.

"The US's top envoy to Africa, Johnnie Carson, has come out and said that international court officials are on their way to Kigali and he hopes they will be given access to the city," said Al Jazeera's Nazanine Moshri, reporting from the Rwandan capital.

"[Carson] also hopes that Rwanda will cooperate with the US embassy in ensuring the safe passage of Bosco Ntaganda from the embassy to the airport," she said.

Ntaganda's departure from the conflict zone, where he was a leading commander in the M23 group fighting Congolese forces, could improve prospects for stability in a region where vast mineral resources have fuelled two decades of conflict.

But the trial of Rwandan-born Ntaganda could also prove an embarrassment to the Rwandan government which has denied charges by a UN panel that accused it of backing the M23 rebels.

The trial could take months or even longer to start.

"This is an opportunity to advance a little bit of peace and stability in the eastern Congo," Carson told a conference call on Ntaganda's situation. 

"The next 48 hours or so will be critical," he said.

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Source:
Al Jazeera And Agencies
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