Accused War Criminal Turns Himself in to U.S. Embassy
The U.S. embassy in Rwanda received a surprise visitor this week when a notorious warlord from the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) decided to turn himself in.
Bosco Ntaganda, nicknamed the Terminator, has been wanted for civilian massacres and using child soldiers in his army. He told U.S. diplomats that he wanted to be sent to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Netherlands.
American officials provided no explanation for why Ntaganda gave up after avoiding the ICC for six years.
But a Congolese official said Ntaganda faced a rebellion within his own rebel group—referred to as M23—from those secretly working with the Rwandan government. The issue of whether or not to turn in Ntaganda to the government contributed to a recent split within M23, which resulted in scores of their members fleeing to Rwanda and being forcibly disarmed.
“The Rwandans would have killed him,” Barnabé Kikaya bin Karubi, the DRC’s ambassador to Great Britain, was quoted as saying by The New York Times. “His only chance to stay alive was to turn himself in to the Americans or whomever.”
It also was theorized that Rwanda may have secretly arranged for Ntaganda to surrender, given that he was able to travel through the small country without detection and that Rwandan foreign minister Louise Mushikiwabo announced the surrender on Twitter before the news got out.
A Congolese military general long considered one of the region’s most brutal warlords, Ntaganda has been accused of using children under the age of 15 to undertake a campaign of ethnic cleansing through rape, sexual slavery and civilian massacres. Among the crimes he has been indicted for is the slaughter of scores of residents of the eastern Congolese town of Kiwanja, where people were pulled from their homes and shot in the head in front of family members.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, Danny Biederman
To Learn More:
Wanted Congolese Rebel Leader Turns Himself In to U.S. Embassy (by Jeffrey Gettleman, New York Times)
Why Did Infamous War Criminal Bosco Ntaganda Just Surrender at a U.S. Embassy? (by Max Fisher, Washington Post)
DR Congo: Congolese Warlord Should Face Justice (Human Rights Watch)
Obama Administration Accused of Blocking UN Report on Congo Rebels to Protect Dictator Ally (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
Obama Trade Advisor Linked to Illegal Gold Deals in Congo (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
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