New Vision Uganda reports
Congo rebel Bosco Ntaganda surrenders
KIGALI - Democratic Republic of Congo rebel Bosco Ntaganda, wanted by the International Criminal Court for a string of atrocities, has surrendered to the US embassy in Kigali, Rwanda's foreign minister said Monday.
"We have just learned that General Ntaganda presented himself at the US Embassy early this morning," Louise Mushikiwabo said in an official statement.
Rwanda's government is "currently establishing further details on this evolving situation," the statement added.
Rwanda I assume said no to sanctuary.
There was no initial confirmation from US officials.
DR Congo government spokesman Lambert Mende said Sunday that Ntaganda had fled to neighbouring Rwanda, which has been accused by Kinshasa and the United Nations of masterminding, arming and even commanding M23 rebels in resource-rich eastern DR Congo.
Ntaganda, a former general nicknamed "The Terminator" and widely seen as the instigator of the M23 group's rebellion against Kinshasa last year, is wanted by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity including rape, murder and recruiting child soldiers.
Neither Rwanda nor the United States are signatories to The Hague-based ICC's founding document, the Rome Statute, and therefore would not be obliged to hand Ntaganda over to the tribunal.
I rather suspect that the US will surrender him to the ICC.
Kinshasa earlier demanded that Kigali refuse to give asylum to the Rwandan-born Ntaganda, who Mende said had crossed the border at the same time as several hundred fighters from a faction of the now divided M23.
Fighting between the M23 -- mainly ethnic Tutsi army mutineers -- and Congolese forces in the eastern province of North Kivu has displaced 500,000 people since May last year, according to the UN refugee agency.
Over 25,000 Congolese fled to Rwanda, according to officials in Kigali.
New Times Rwanda
Congolese rebel Bosco Ntaganda, wanted by International Criminal Court for war crimes, yesterday, surrendered to the US Embassy in Kigali, the Rwanda and the US governments have confirmed.
Rwanda’s Foreign Minister and Government Spokesperson, Louise Mushikiwabo, who broke the news on Twitter, said in a statement: “We’ve just learned that Gen Ntaganda presented himself at the US Embassy early this morning [yesterday].”
The statement added that government was establishing further details on the situation.
The Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Kigali, Susan Falatko, told The New Times: “Yes we can confirm, he walked into the Embassy this morning, [yesterday].”
US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said when Ntaganda walked into their embassy in Kigali, he specifically asked to be transferred to the ICC in The Hague.
“We are in contact with the court and the government of Rwanda to facilitate his request,” Nuland told journalists in Washington, adding that she could not speak for Ntaganda as to why he had approached the US Embassy.
“We strongly support the ICC and their investigation on the atrocities committed in the DR Congo,” Nuland said.
This is odd. The US do not recognise the ICC yet strongly support them ? Has there been a fundamental change in US policy ?
Ntaganda is said to have enjoyed protection from an M23 rebel faction led by deposed political leader Jean-Marie Runiga.
Runiga’s faction had been fighting a rival faction loyal to the group’s military chief Sultani Makenga. He was one of the top commanders in the militia led by Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, who was convicted in March, last year, by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity in DR Congo.
In 2006, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Ntaganda, who was then a General in DRC’s national army, for crimes committed against civilians in the Ituri region from 2002 to 2003. He was also accused of recruiting child soldiers in North Kivu in the 2012 rebellion.
However, it is still unclear what the US Government, which had placed a $5m bounty on his head, will do with Ntaganda since it is not a signatory to The Hague-based ICC’s founding document, the Rome Statute, that establish the court.
Part of the ICC’s indictment against Ntaganda includes war crimes and crimes against humanity, including rape, murder and recruiting child soldiers.
His surrender comes days after fighting between rival factions of the M23 saw 718 fighters led by Runiga into fleeing to Rwanda. The rebels were disarmed and secured, while Runiga is currently being held in a yet-to-be-known location in the country.
Watch this space I guess.