Bosco Ntaganda, a Congolese warlord known as “the Terminator” who evaded arrest on war crimes charges for seven years, denied his guilt in his first appearance at the International Criminal Court.
General Ntaganda unexpectedly gave himself up at the US embassy in Rwanda last week, walking in and demanding to be handed over to the ICC. Analysts say he may have done it to escape from rival warlords.
He is accused of recruiting child soldiers, murder, ethnic persecution, sexual slavery and rape during a conflict in north-eastern Congo’s mineral-rich Ituri district in 2002-03. Most recently, he was a commander in the M23 rebel movement.
His appearance almost seven years after the court first issued a warrant is a much-needed success for the ICC. A date of 23 September was set for the next hearing at which judges will decide whether the evidence against General Ntaganda is strong enough to warrant a trial.