- The International Criminal Court [ICC] has unsealed an arrest warrant against Mr Bosco Ntanganda, a former Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Forces Patriotiques pour la Libération du Congo [FPLC], and current alleged Chief of Staff of the Congrès national pour la défense du people [CNDP] armed group, active in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC].
Upon request of the Prosecutor, ICC's pre-trial chamber unsealed Mr Ntaganda's arrest warrant. The ICC appealed to relevant authorities, including those in the DRC and the international community to help arrest him and facilitate his surrender to the international court.
"Bosco Ntaganda is a former associate of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo. Today, he is active in the Kivus. We count on all concerned States authorities and actors to contribute to his arrest and surrender him to the Court," said the Prosecutor.
The sealed warrant was first issued on 22 August 2006 by the court's pre-trial chamber. The chamber concluded that there were reasonable ground to believe that from July 2002 to end of December 2003, Mr Ntaganda had played an essential role in enlisting and conscripting children under the age of 15 years into the FPLC as well as using them to participate actively in hostilities.
Ntaganda is the second person charged in connection with the investigation into crimes allegedly committed by leaders of the FPLC armed group in the District of Ituri. The President of the Union des Patriotes conglais [UPC] and former Commander-in-chief of its military wing, the FLPC, Thomas lubanga Dyilo, who became the first suspect in this investigation, was surrendered to the ICC on 17 March 2006.
Dyilo will be the first person to stand trial at the ICC on 23 June 2008.
Bosco Ntaganda, who continues to be implicated in the commission of crimes in the DRC, is at large. He is believed to have moved from the District of Ituri to the Province of North Kivu, into the Masisi area, where he has reportedly taken the position of Chief of Staff within the political-military group CNDP, a group under the command of the dessident rebel leader, Laurent Nkunda.
The CNDP is one of the groups accused of committing serious crimes, including unspeakble cruel sexual crimes.
The office of the Prosecutor said it is in the process of moving on to its third case in the DRC, with other applications for arrest warrants to follow in the coming months and years. Apart from being particular in garnering information on crimes committed in the North and South Kivu, the office of the Prosecutor is also taking into cognizance the role of organizers and bankrollers of militia.
"Bosco Ntaganda committed crimes in Ituri; he is today in the Kivus. He must be arrested. Like all the other indicted criminals in Uganda and in the Sudan, he must be stopped if we want to break the system of violence. For such criminals, there must be no escape. Then peace will have a chance. Then victims will have hope," said the Prosecutor.
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