Congolese warlord flown out of Rwanda from U.S. mission

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 22, 2013 7:58 AM
Congolese warlord flown out of Rwanda from U.S. mission

By Jenny Clover

KIGALI (Reuters) - A Congolese warlord accused of war crimes charges was flown out of Rwanda bound for the International Criminal Court in the Hague on Friday, four days after he surrendered to the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, the Rwandan foreign minister said,

"Bosco Ntaganda has just taken off from Kigali in custody of ICC officials following cooperation between Rwanda, US and Dutch governments," Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said on Twitter.

The International Criminal Court confirmed he was on his way to the Netherlands. It would soon set a date for his first appearance in court to confirm his identity, it said in a statement.

A Reuters witness earlier saw a blacked-out U.S. Embassy vehicle under police escort drive along the perimeter of Kigali's international airport. Shortly after, a private jet took off.

Ntaganda, a rebel commander nicknamed "the Terminator", walked off the street and gave himself up to the U.S. Embassy on Monday after a 15-year career that spanned a series of Rwandan-backed rebellions in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

He asked to be moved to the ICC where he faces charges of recruiting child soldiers, murder, ethnic persecution, sexual slavery and rape during the 2002-3 conflict in northeastern Congo's gold mining Ituri district.

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"Bosco's arrest won't bring peace to the eastern Congo, but Bosco's arrest does spell a victory in the battle against impunity and the dismantling to one of the barriers to a peace process in the country," Jason Stearns of the Rift Valley Institute wrote on Friday.

(Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Angus MacSwan)