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Suspected DRC war criminal surrenders to ICC

Congolese war crimes suspect Gen. Bosco Ntaganda [BBC profile] voluntarily surrendered himself [ICC press release] into the custody of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Friday. The ICC is now in the process of transferring him to The Hague from Rwanda. The ICC issued two arrest warrants, one in 2006 and one in 2012 [arrest warrants], for Ntaganda. He is suspected of seven counts of war crimes [ICC backgrounder] (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. Ntaganda's surrender represents the first time an wanted person has voluntarily surrendered to the ICC.

Earlier this week, Ntaganda surrendered himself to a US embassy [JURIST report] in Rwanda and requested extradition to the ICC. Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] has called for Ntaganda's arrest on three separate occasions: most recently a direct appeal in 2012 to DRC President Joseph Kabila, and previously in 2011 during an international conference after its first request in 2010 [JURIST reports]. Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo [ICC information sheet] is a landmark case for the ICC because Lubanga was the first prisoner taken into custody and delivered [JURIST report] to the international criminal tribunal in The Hague. The prosecution concluded its case [JURIST report] in July 2009 after presenting 22 weeks of testimony.

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