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ICC confirms war crimes charges against Congo rebel leader

[JURIST] The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Monday confirmed charges [decision, PDF; press release] against Congolese war crimes suspect Bosco Ntaganda [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. The charges consist of 18 counts of war crimes including murder, rape, sexual slavery and using child soldiers, as well as crimes against humanity charges. The ICC held a confirmation of charges hearing [JURIST report] in February, reviewing approximately 69,000 pages of evidence. The pre-trial chamber concluded that Ntaganda bears individual criminal responsibility for specific attacks as well as war crimes during the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), referring him for trial at a future date.

Last June the ICC postponed [JURIST report] the confirmation of charges hearing for Ntaganda in order to give prosecutors more time to prepare their case. The Congolese general voluntarily turned himself over to the ICC in March 2013 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 had called for Ntaganda's arrest on multiple occasions: most recently a direct appeal in 2012 to DRC President Joseph Kabila and previously in 2011 during an international conference after its previous request in 2010 [JURIST reports].

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