Situation: Democratic Republic of Congo
Case: The Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda
On 28 April 2008, Pre-Trial Chamber I decided to unseal the warrant of arrest against Bosco Ntaganda, 35 years old, also known as "the Terminator". Still at large, he is alleged to have committed war crimes of enlistment and conscription of children under the age of 15 and of using them to participate actively in hostilities in Ituri, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, from July 2002 until December 2003. The warrant of arrest was delivered on 22 August 2006 under seal.
The Chamber found that there were reasonable grounds to believe that members of the Forces patriotiques pour la libération du Congo (FPLC) repeatedly carried out, from July 2002 to December 2003, acts of enlistment, conscription and active participation in hostilities of children under the age of fifteen, who were trained in the FPLC training camps of Bule, Cantrale, Mandro, Rwampara, Irumu, Bogoro and Sota.
The Chamber found that there were reasonable grounds to believe that Ntaganda, as former Deputy Chief of General Staff for Military Operations of the FPLC, had during the mentioned period of time, de jure and de facto authority over the FPLC training camp commanders and used his authority to actively implement the policy adopted at a higher level of the Union des Patriotes Congolais (UPC)/FPLC of enlisting, conscripting and using children under the age of 15 to participate actively in hostilities. According to the judges, Ntaganda was subordinated to Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, alleged FPLC Commander-in-Chief, currently under the custody of the ICC.
There are also reasonable grounds to believe that Ntaganda, "often visited the FPLC training camps where children under the age of fifteen were trained to become FPLC soldiers and that he took part directly in attacks in which FPLC soldiers under the age of fifteen actively participated".
Reasons for the unsealing
The warrant of arrest, issued in 2006 by Pre-Trial Chamber I, remained under seal amongst other reasons, because 'public knowledge of the proceedings in this case might result in Bosco Ntaganda hiding, fleeing, and/or obstructing or endangering the investigations or the proceedings of the Court'.
According to the judges the circumstances that led to the sealing have changed. Both the Prosecution and the Registry, which is the competent organ of the Court to execute the Court's warrants of arrest and is in charge of the Court's Witness Protection Programme, agreed that 'the unsealing of the warrant of arrest for Bosco Ntaganda will not endanger the witnesses of the DRC cases' and that this was the 'right moment' to make it public.
The warrant of arrest against Ntaganda is the fourth issued by the judges of the ICC in the situation of the DRC. Three persons are currently into custody: Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ndgudjolo Chui.
Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, the founder and leader of the UPC will be the first person to stand trial at the ICC, scheduled to start on 23 June 2008.
The confirmation of charges in the case The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui is scheduled to start on 27 June 2008.
28.04.2008 – Decision to Unseal the Warrant of Arrest Against Bosco Ntaganda
ICC-01/04-02/06-18 - Original: Anglais
22.08.2006 – Mandat d'arrêt
ICC-01/04-02/06-2 – Original: Français| Traductions: Anglais, Swahili
ICC-01/04-02/06-2-Anx – Français
For further information, please contact Ms Hala El Amine, Associate Legal Outreach Officer, at +31 (0)70 515-9235 or at [email protected]