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Arrest plea for Congo warlords

May 15, 2012

The International Criminal Court’s top prosecutor has called for the arrest of two Democratic Republic of Congo militia leaders. Bosco Ntaganda and Sylvestre Mudacumara are accused of crimes against humanity.

File -- IN a Feb. 27, 2007 file photo the International Criminal Court's prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo reacts during a press conference in The Hague, Netherlands. In a briefing to the Security Council on Nov. 2, 2011, about Nato in Libya, Moreno-Ocampo said "there are allegations of crimes committed by NATO forces (and) these allegations will be examined impartially and independently." (AP Photo/Peter Dejong/file)
Image: AP

ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on Monday called for the arrest of the two men alleged to be responsible for a wave of killings and rapes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The prosecutor urged the court in The Hague to issue fresh warrants with new charges against Bosco Ntaganda and Sylvestre Mudacumara, claiming this would weaken local support for the men.

"The public request of the arrest warrants can contribute to demobilize those following Ntaganda's and Mudacumura's orders," Moreno-Ocampo told a press conference in New York.

The prosecutor charged Mudacumura - who was already wanted on charges of conscripting child soldiers - with five counts of crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and torture between 2009 and 2010. Mudacumura was also charged with nine counts of war crimes, including killing of civilians.

Child soldiers in DCR
Both men were already wanted for forcing child soldiers into battleImage: picture-alliance/dpa

Moreno-Ocampo also said he wanted war crimes and crimes against humanity charges to be added to a warrant against Ntaganda, dubbed "The Terminator."

"We are pretty confident in our evidence," Moreno-Ocampo told journalists at the UN headquarters.

'A chance to refine methods'

Ocampo said that the action was intended to contribute to "peace and security" in the Great Lakes region between DRC and Rwanda. The area has been plagued by almost two decades of strife, since the Rwanda genocide of 1994.

"It is an opportunity for the DRC and Rwandan armies to refine their methods and transform war into an arrest operation," Moreni-Ocampo said.

Mudacumura is field commander of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), whose leaders are believed to have participated in the Rwanda genocide.

Jean Bosco Ntaganda
Ntaganda is an army general who became a rebel leaderImage: dapd

Ntaganda, now a top commander of the so-called Lubanga militia, is understood to have fled close to the border with Rwanda.

The announcement follows the capture on Sunday of a senor member of the Lord's Resistance Army, which is also blamed for wreaking havoc in the DRC.

Caesar Acellam, considered the LRA's fourth-top ranking member, was arrested in the Central African Republic by Ugandan troops leading a US-African Union operation against the LRA.

rc/ncy (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)