Congolese warlord to make first appearance before ICC

March 26, 2013 03:56

AMSTERDAM - Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda makes his first public appearance before the International Criminal Court in the Hague on Tuesday after evading arrest on war crimes charges for seven years - a boost to the court following a string of setbacks.

Ntaganda is accused of murder, rape and other atrocities over a 15-year-period of fighting in Rwandan-backed rebellions in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.He unexpectedly gave himself up to diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda last week, walking in off the street and demanding to be handed over the ICC. Within days he was put on a plane to The Hague.

His appearance in the court almost seven years after the court first issued a warrant for his arrest is a much-needed success story for the ICC following the collapse of several cases.

Most recently, prosecutors withdrew their case against Kenyan civil servant Francis Muthaura after a witness retracted his testimony, prompting lawyers for his co-accused Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya's president-elect, to demand that judges also drop charges against him.

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