DR Congo: ICC-Indicted War Criminal Implicated in Assassinations of Opponents

http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/10/12/dr-congo-icc-indicted-war-criminal-involved-assassinations-opponents?tr=y&auid=7167740
Congolese Government Should Urgently Act to Arrest Bosco Ntaganda
October 13, 2010
2010_DRC_BoscoNtaganda2.jpg

Bosco Ntaganda poses for a photograph in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo,
on October 5, 2010.

© 2010 Reuters

Ntaganda should be arrested and made to answer for his crimes, rather than being allowed to walk freely in Goma. He is a threat to the people of eastern Congo and is making a mockery of the Congolese government’s policy of zero tolerance for human rights abuses.

Anneke Van Woudenberg, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch

(London) – The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo should immediately arrest Bosco Ntaganda, a Congolese army general sought on an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court (ICC), Human Rights Watch said today. Since January 2010, Ntaganda has been implicated in the assassination of at least eight people, arbitrary arrests of another seven, and the abduction and disappearance of at least one more. Some of these incidents occurred in eastern Congo, others in neighboring Rwanda.

Ntaganda, who lives and moves about openly in Goma, in eastern Congo, has also directly or indirectly threatened more than two dozen people whom he perceives as opposing him. Despite well documented evidence of his abuses, the Congolese government has not acted to arrest Ntaganda, whom it regards as essential to the “peace process” in eastern Congo. “Ntaganda should be arrested and made to answer for his crimes, rather than being allowed to walk freely in Goma,” said Anneke Van Woudenberg, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. “He is a threat to the people of eastern Congo and is making a mockery of the Congolese government’s policy of zero tolerance for human rights abuses.”

The majority of those targeted by Ntaganda are family members or former supporters of the rebel leader Laurent Nkunda, whom Ntaganda ousted from the leadership of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) rebel group in January 2009 with the help of military authorities from nearby Rwanda. After taking over the leadership of the CNDP, Ntaganda announced that he was ending the rebellion. He said he would integrate the rebel troops into the Congolese national army to carry out joint operations with Rwandan armed forces against the predominately Rwandan Hutu rebel group, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

Ntaganda secured a position for himself as a general in Congo’s army. The Congolese government said it would not execute the ICC arrest warrant against him in the interest of maintaining peace, contending that Ntaganda is needed to keep the former CNDP troops integrated in the Congolese army.

Ntaganda’s putsch, and the subsequent arrest and detention without charge of Nkunda in Rwanda, deeply divided the CNDP movement. A number of Nkunda supporters objected to Ntaganda’s leadership, though they took up their new positions in the Congolese army. Other civilians and activists with no links to the CNDP who have exposed Ntaganda’s human rights violations and called for his arrest have also been the targets of arbitrary arrests and intimidation by Ntaganda and his supporters.

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