The International Criminal Court has issued warrants for the arrest of two rebel leaders — one Congolese and one Rwandan — as the two African states accuse each other of using proxies in the ongoing violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The ICC, based in The Hague, announced on Friday that it has issued warrants for the arrest of Rwandan Hutu rebel leader Sylvestre Mudacumura and rogue Tutsi Congolese general Bosco Ntaganda, who is the leader of the March 23 mutiny in the DRC, AFP reported.
« Mr. Ntaganda, approximately 41 years old, is suspected of committing war crimes and/or crimes against humanity, from 1 September 2002 to the end of September 2003, in the context of the conflict in the Kivus, » the ICC said.
Mudacumura faces « nine counts of war crimes, consisting of attacking civilians, murder, mutilation, cruel treatment, rape, torture, destruction of property, pillaging and outrages against personal dignity, » committed during the 2009-2010 conflict in the Kivus.
Kinshasa accuses the Rwandan government of providing funds, weapons, and troops to Ntaganda’s militia, which captured several towns in Nord-Kivu province in recent days and is now perceived as threatening the provincial capital Goma.
Led by Ntaganda, hundreds of former members of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) rebelled against Kinshasa in April in protest over mistreatment in the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC).
The CNDP was a rebel militia group that split from the FARDC. In 2009, a peace treaty was signed by the rebels and the Congolese government which integrated the CNDP into the FARDC.
Congo has faced numerous problems over the past few decades, such as grinding poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and a war in the east of the country that has dragged on for over a decade and left over 5.5 million people dead.