[JURIST] International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo announced Monday that his office will seek arrest warrants [press release] for two rebel leaders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The office filed an arrest warrant application [UN News Centre report] for Sylvestre Mudacumura [ICC fact sheet, PDF], a foreign militia leader in the DRC, and sought a warrant establishing additional charges against General Bosco Ntaganda [JURIST news archive], a general in DRC’s national army who has been previously indicted [case materials] by the ICC on other charges. Ocampo stressed that it was important to address the actions of the two leaders in court rather than in a confrontation, noting that “open confrontations in the past have merely led to the killing of civilians.” The ICC has called for the immediate arrest of both individuals.
Last month Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged [JURIST report] Congo President Joseph Kabila to immediately arrest Ntaganda and deliver him to the ICC to face charges of enlisting children and using them in hostile activities. Although an arrest warrant [text] was issued by the ICC in 2006 and made public [JURIST report] in 2008, Kabila suggested in a public statement earlier this month that he was considering arresting Ntaganda. Although HRW acknowledges that this suggestion is a significant step and shows a positive change in the government’s policies, HRW Senior Africa Researcher Anneke Van Woudenberg said the president needs to act on his statements immediately and deliver Ntaganda to The Hague for trial. Ntaganda became a general of the Congolese army after promising to integrate the rebel forces into the Congolese troops. As a result, the government has previously refused to execute the ICC arrest warrant against him, claiming that his presence is needed in order to maintain peace among the troops.