[QODLink]
Africa

DR Congo's Ntaganda appears before ICC

War crimes suspect makes first appearance since surrendering, to face charges including murder and using child soldiers.

Last Modified: 26 Mar 2013 19:12
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

A Rwandan-born warlord known as "The Terminator" has told the International Criminal Court he is not guilty of charges including murder, rape, pillaging and using child soldiers in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Bosco Ntaganda was making his first appearance before the court since his surprise surrender last week.

Ntaganda had been one of the court's longest-sought fugitives until he unexpectedly became the first suspect to voluntarily turn himself in by seeking refuge last week at the US embassy in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.

He allegedly led rebels who terrorised eastern Congo in brutal tribal fighting from 2002-2003.

He faces 10 counts, including rape, murder and using child soldiers.

Live Box 20121128124512172397

Ntaganda entered the courtroom for Tuesday's largely procedural hearing dressed in an ill-fitting dark blue suit, blue shirt and striped tie.

My name is Bosco Ntaganda, I only have the two names, the names given to  me by my parents," he said when presiding judge Ekaterina Trendafilova asked him to identify himself.

"As you know, I was a soldier in the Congo," he said. "I was born in Rwanda but I grew up in the Congo. I am Congolese."

Appearing ill at ease, he leaned forward and looked down as the hearing began.

Ntaganda said "I plead not guilty" after a court official began reading the charges against him.

Judge Trendafilova then cut him off, saying he did not have to enter a plea.

Congo has suffered from two decades of instability linked to ethnic rivalries and competition for control of the eastern  region's mineral resources.

The unrest in the DRC began when some of the ethnic Hutu militants accused of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda fled into DR Congo.

Human rights activists have by and large welcomed General Ntaganda's arrest but many feel he might have been forced to surrender after in-fighting within M23.

312

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
US drones in Pakistan have killed thousands since 2004. How have leaders defended or decried these deadly planes?
Residents count the cost of violence after black American teenager shot dead by white Missouri police officer.
EU's poorest member state is struggling to cope with an influx of mostly war-weary Syrian refugees.
Study says tipping point reached as poachers kill 7 percent of African elephants annually; birth rate is 5 percent.
Zimbabwe's leader given rotating chairmanship of 15-member nation bloc a year after he won disputed presidential polls.
join our mailing list