The ICC Prosecutor’s Office stated that it will seek arrest warrants for two Congolese rebel leaders, General Bosco Ntaganda and Sylvestre Mudacumura.
General Ntaganda was a leading figure within the Forces Patriotiques pour la libération du Congo (FPLC), the military wing of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), the organisaton formed by Thomas Lubanga. Lubanga’s conscription of child soldiers into the FPLC led to his being found guilty of war crimes by the ICC in March. A warrant was issued for General Ntaganda’s arrest in 2006 on the basis of his own involvement in the enlistment of child soldiers. The new warrant for Ntaganda’s arrest alleges, in addition, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed between September 2002 and September 2003 and draws on information revealed during Lubanga’s trial.
Ntaganda, who earned the nickname “The Terminator” during the Congolese civil conflict, is still a controversial and important figure in domestic Congolese politics. He was integrated into the regular Congolese forces as a General as a result of a peace deal organised by Congo’s president, Joseph Kabila, who for years resisted calls for Ntaganda’s arrest despite the outstanding ICC warrant and pressure from international NGOs. Kabila changed his position and began to push for Ntaganda’s arrest in April, following which Ntaganda defected from the Congolese army and, according to an investigation by Human Rights Watch, has begun to again recruit child soldiers.
Sylvestre Mudacumura is the Supreme Commander of the FDLR militia, who, according to the Prosecutor’s office, launched a campaign of attacks against the civilian populations in the Kivu regions of the Congo. Mudacumura is charged with five counts of crimes against humanity committed between January 2009 and August 2010.
The ICC Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, expressed his hope that “these two arrest warrants against leaders of militias… could help to stop the crimes”.