In a bizarre turn of events, M23 rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda surrendered to the U.S. Embassy in Kigali on March 18th amidst swirling rumors of his presence in Rwanda, reports of internal fighting among M23 factions, and an impending peace deal between rebels and the Congolese government. Read More »
Contact: Jonathan Hutson, firstname.lastname@example.org,+1-202-386-1618
GOMA, DR CONGO, AND WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. government has confirmed that Bosco "The Terminator" Ntaganda, a Congolese warlord wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, has entered the U.S. embassy in Kigali, Rwanda, to surrender.
State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland stated:
"I can confirm that Bosco Ntaganda, ICC indictee and the leader of one of the factions of the M23 rebel group and the subject of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant, walked into the U.S. Embassy in Kigali this morning. He specifically asked to be transferred to the ICC in The Hague."
She also said, "We are working to facilitate his request to be transferred to the Hague. We strongly support the ICC and their investigation on the atrocities committed in the DRC."
Enough Project Field Researcher Fidel Bafilemba, based in Goma, DR Congo, said:
"Bosco Ntaganda would have considered all his options before deciding to surrender to the US embassy. He may have felt that his best chance for survival was to surrender to people he believes can ensure his safety. Now that Bosco is in custody, justice can be done for the Congolese people."
Enough Project Associate Director of Research Aaron Hall said:
"Ntaganda's surrender is a significant moment for accountability and reconciliation in Congo and Rwanda. He must be delivered to The Hague to face the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity pending against him, especially for rape, sexual slavery and the forcible recruitment of child soldiers. Only immediate arrest and transfer to The Hague will give assurance to eastern Congo's communities that justice will be done."
"Bosco Ntaganda is not called The Terminator for nothing. The US should immediately hand him over to the International Criminal Court for trial. This would send serious signals to current and future warlords who continue to perpetrate atrocities in eastern Congo. The ICC should also investigate and indict M23 and FDLR officers most responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity."
Ntaganda lived for years in a comfortable villa in Goma, rubbing elbows with humanitarian workers, Congolese security officials, and in plain view of United Nations peacekeeping mission. Despite his war criminal status, he has remained able to consolidate power and move freely throughout the region with total impunity while amassing a fortune from exploitation of the region's illicit minerals trade according to an Enough Project fact sheet that sheds light on the former general.
Ntaganda, a Congolese Tutsi with links to the government of Rwanda, fought for years with various rebel groups in both Rwanda and Congo before taking over the Rwandan-backed rebel group the CNDP in 2009. At that point, Ntaganda's forces were integrated into the Congolese army in a still opaque peace deal between Rwanda and Congo. Since then, he has continued a campaign of corruption, murder, rape, extortion and intimidation, under the umbrella of the Congolese state security apparatus.
Enough Project Field Researcher Timo Mueller said:
"Bosco's decision to turn himself over is indicative of a profound crisis within M23. Over the recent weeks, the group has been consumed by merciless infighting. With the Terminator in custody, the International Community has a prime opportunity to increase its leverage to dismantle a group that wreaks havoc over eastern Congo."
"Ntaganda has been called both a war criminal and a lynchpin to regional stability," according to the Enough Project fact sheet. "Yet as a member and leader of several armed groups, he has left a bloody trail across the eastern Congo."
Read the Enough Project fact sheet (PDF), "Who is Bosco Ntaganda: Lynchpin to Security or International War Criminal?" LINK: http://www.enoughproject.org/files/BoscoNtaganda.pdf
The Enough Project is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, South Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough conducts intensive field research, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to empower citizens and groups working for change. To learn more about Enough, go to www.enoughproject.org.
In the coming days, the United Nations Security Council will be debating the mandate of the U.N. mission in Congo known as MONUSCO, the world’s largest peacekeeping force. Based on a recent trip to eastern Congo and conversations with U.N. peacekeepers themselves, here are three ideas that I would want my taxpayer dollars to go toward. Read More »
The conflict in Darfur began 10 years ago. To commemorate the anniversary—remember the lives lost, acknowledge the ongoing struggle of the displaced, and recognize the ongoing effort to establish justice and find peace—Enough and its partners will mark 10 days of activism. Read More »