THE HAGUE, Mar 22 – The International Criminal Court said Friday that wanted DR Congo rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda, who surrendered earlier this week, is headed to The Hague-based court from Rwanda.
“Ntaganda… surrendered himself voluntarily and is now… headed to the ICC detention centre in The Hague,” the ICC said.
He is to face charges of using child soldiers, keeping women as sex slaves and participating in the murder of at least 800 people in eastern DR Congo between 2002 and 2003.
On arrival, likely at Rotterdam airport outside The Hague on Friday evening, Ntaganda will receive a medical checkup and will appear “as soon as possible” before judges in the presence of a defence lawyer, the ICC said.
“The date of the initial appearance hearing will be announced soon,” it said, with Ntaganda to become the fifth African in the ICC’s custody.
Ntaganda shocked the world when he walked into the US embassy in Kigali on Monday and asked to be sent to The Hague, becoming the first suspect to surrender himself voluntarily to the court.
ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda welcomed news of Ntaganda transfer, saying: “This is a good day for victims in the DRC and for international justice.”
“Today those who have long suffered at the hands of Bosco Ntaganda can look forward to the future and the prospect of justice secured,” she said in a statement, notably thanking US, Rwandan and Dutch authorities for enabling the transfer.