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ICC delays preliminary hearing for Congo war crimes suspect

The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Monday postponed [order, PDF; press release] the confirmation of charges hearing for Congolese war crimes suspect Bosco Ntaganda [BBC profile] in order to give prosecutors more time to prepare their case. The hearing, which was scheduled to begin on September 26, will not start until February 10. At the hearing, the judge will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to support the prosecution's charges. Ntaganga is accused of recruiting child soldiers during the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Five Year War. The prosecution will be collecting evidence to support 10 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Ntaganga first appeared in front of the ICC in March and denied [JURIST report] the charges against him. The Congolese general voluntarily turned himself over to the ICC in March following his surrender to a US embassy [JURIST reports] in Rwanda, marking the first time a wanted person has voluntarily surrendered to the ICC. Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] had called for Ntaganda's arrest on multiple occasions: most recently a direct appeal last year to Democratic Republic of the Congo President Joseph Kabila and previously in 2011 during an international conference after its first request in 2010 [JURIST reports].

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