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Congo militia leader denies war crimes accusations

[JURIST] A former army general and warlord in the Democratic Republic of Congo [JURIST news archive] denied allegations of war crimes in an interview published Wednesday in Dutch newspaper Trouw [media website, in Dutch]. Laurent Nkunda [BBC profile], the Tutsi leader of the National Congress for the Defence of the People, is accused of masterminding an anti-government insurgency in the province of Nord-Kivu, in apparent violation of a peace accord signed in January. In February, ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] said he was investigating crimes committed in eastern Congo, but did not specifically name Nkunda as a suspect; Trouw reported Wednesday that the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] is now gathering evidence against Nkunda. AFP has more.

Nkunda would not be the first Congolese militia leader to face ICC investigation. Union of Patriotic Congolese leader Thomas Lubanga [ICC materials; BBC profile] became the first war crimes defendant to appear before the ICC after he was taken into ICC custody [JURIST reports] in March 2006. The ICC has also taken steps to prosecute Germain Katanga [BBC report; ICC materials], a Congolese militia leader who has also been accused of using child soldiers.

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