Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Video Evidence Links ICC Fugitive to New Crimes in the DRC

A recent video available on the New York Times website shows Bosco Ntaganda leading rebel troops into the village of Kiwanja on the day over 150 civilians were massacred there. Mr. Ntaganda, alias the “Terminator,” is presently the military chief of staff of the Congrès National pour la Défense du Peuple (CNDP) whose leader is General Laurent Nkunda. Most observers, including Human Rights Watch and the civilian victims themselves, blame the CNDP for most of the atrocities that took place in Kiwanja on November 4-5, 2008. In the same New York Times video, Gen. Nkunda denies responsibility and offers an unconvincing alibi - that his troops were in control of the town the days before and after the attack, but left the town on the particular day the attack occurred. The video evidence proves otherwise and constitutes a substantial piece of evidence linking Mr. Ntaganda – and through chain of command General Nkunda – to fresh crimes against humanity committed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Mr. Ntaganda, a Rwandan citizen, was formerly a commander in the Forces Patriotiques pour la Libération du Congo (FPLC), the military wing of a political party named the Union des Patriotes Congolais (UPC). It was for his role in recruiting child soldiers for the UPC that the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest in 2006. Mr. Ntaganda has since left the FPLC/UPC and has joined General Nkunda’s men who have become an increasingly powerful rebel force in the Eastern DRC. Numerous sources have predicted General Nkunda will be the next target of an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court, given the ICC Prosecutor’s November 4, 2008 press release noting that his office has jurisdiction over crimes in the Kivus, as well as Nkunda’s growing notoriety domestically and abroad, for his responsibility in committing mass atrocities in the Eastern DRC.

It is precisely the chain of command linking General Nkunda and Mr. Ntaganda that makes this video evidence potentially damaging to both these men. For one, the video helps show Mr. Ntaganda’s involvement in the crimes in Kiwanja as a CNDP commander, and could implicate him as a direct perpetrator or for ordering his troops to commit crimes. Secondly, the video implicates General Nkunda through the doctrine of superior responsibility, presuming that Nkunda had command and control over his troops at the time the massacre occurred. Of course, the brief video on its own is insufficient to prove anyone’s guilt. In combination with other substantive evidence, however, the video could help hold those responsible for the massacres at Kiwanja. Linking a suspect to the scene of a crime on the day the crime took place is a valuable piece of evidence for any prosecutor.

Despite its significant evidentiary value, the New York Times video is disturbing for the same reasons for which it could be valuable. It directly links to new crimes against humanity one of the few persons on the earth for whom the ICC has issued an arrest warrant. As such, the video deals a direct blow to the idea that ICC warrants deter suspects from committing new crimes. One of the founding ideals of the ICC, as demonstrated in the Preamble of the Rome Statute, was its ability to use the threat of criminal punishment to prevent or deter persons from committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. It is possible that such a deterrent effect was meant primarily for those who have yet to commit crimes, and not for those like Mr. Ntaganda who have already been charged with serious crimes that could carry a substantial prison sentence, and thus have “nothing to lose” in committing new crimes.

Ultimately, the video evidence is a good thing. Despite the disturbing trends the video indicates, with respect to both the ongoing attacks against civilians and the inability of the international community to reign in such abuses, the video could serve as primary evidence linking Mr. Ntaganda to subsequent crimes should he ever be tried before the ICC. While some may argue that Mr. Ntaganda should not be punished for these crimes because his arrest warrant only includes crimes from before 2006, the Prosecutor could easily amend the charges against Mr. Ntaganda to include these most recent attacks, and the Rome Statute clearly provides for such an amendment in article 58(6). Instead, the largest obstacle will likely be in arresting Mr. Ntaganda – a task that either the DRC, MONUC, or any neighboring state where Mr. Ntaganda happens to visit - must execute in order to bring some relief to the civilians in this war torn region.

-Nick Leddy
Washington, D.C.


  1. Petition Calling on UN (MONUC) to arrest NTAGANDA wantedWanted by the ICC

    The UN in Congo(MONUC) is not doing enough to arrest NTAGANDA for his committed war crimes

    The Mobilization for Justice and Peace in D.R. Congo (MJPC) announced today that it has launched a new online petition that can be signed at asking concerned citizens around the world to demand MONUC to take concrete actions to arrest Bosco Ntaganda wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes.

    MONUC is currently the largest UN peacekeeping mission in the world with more than 17,600 uniformed personnel from 58 countries with an annual budget of more than $1bn.

    In April 2008, the International Criminal Court (ICC) unsealed the warrant of arrest against Mr. NTAGANDA whic was first issued on 22 August 2006 by Pre-Trial Chamber I. The Chamber concluded that there were reasonable grounds to believe that from July 2002 to end of December 2003, Mr. NTAGANDA had played an essential role in enlisting and conscripting children under the age of fifteen years into the FPLC and using them to participate actively in hostilities.

    According to Amede KYUBWA, Executive Director of MJPC, "concerned citizens around the world are being asked to contribute to the arrest of NTAGANDA by putting pressure on MONUC to take whatever necessary actions to arrest this war criminal." He decried MONUC's failure to take appropriate action to arrest him despite evidence showing that they know his whereabouts. MJPC urges MONUC to treat those who have committed war crimes in Congo as criminals and refrain from helping them to be appointed to high governmental posts. "rewarding war criminals with the governmental posts does nothing else than promoting more war criminals, preventing justice to thousands of victims including children and women who have suffered at the hands of these criminals and it shamefully contradicts directly the values and principles of the U.N" said Mr. KYUBWA

    As part of its global campaign to help end the cycle of violence and impunity in Congo, MJPC lounched it first online petition in November 2008 calling for MONUC to immediately arrest notorious war criminal NKUNDA which can still be signed So far more than 1085 people have signed the petition, including those from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, USA, Kenya, Rwanda, France, German, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, South Africa, Malawi, Burundi, Senegal, Nigeria, Spain, Japan, the UK, Venezuela, Itali, Ethiopia, China, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Uganda.

    About the MJPC.
    MJPC seeks to add a voice in advocating for justice and peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo particulary in the east of the D.R. Congo where thousands innocent civilian including children and women continue to suffer massive human rights violations while armed groups responsible for these crimes go unpunished. Visit the Online Museum of Victims of War in Congo in Congo at to see the unacceptable barbarity that you could help stop by signing the petition. For more information on MJPC and the activities, visit the wbsite or call Amede Kyubwa @ 916 753 5717. The online petitions can be signed at the following addresses: for arresting NKUNDA at and arresting NTAGANDA at

  2. MJPC: The ICC Called to issue an Arrest Warrant Against Laurent Nkunda

    MJPC questions ICC waiting to issue an arrest warrant against Nkunda.

    Kinshasaa, D.R. Congo, April 25, 2009 — The Mobilization for Justice and Peace in the D.R. Congo (MJPC) today called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue an arrest warrant against laurent Nkunda accused of multiple war crimes and crimes against humanity which are well documented by various human right organzations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Laurent Nkunda, former leader of the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) armed group, was arrested on 22 January and is detained at an undisclosed location in Rwanda.

    How long would it take for the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo to decide whether or not to issue an arrest warrant against Nkunda? echoed Makuba Sekombo, Director of Community Affairs of MJPC. The ICC Prosecutor has been investigating war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since since 2004, but the ICC reportdely opened an investigation into alleged war crimes committed in the DRC since 1 July 2002.

    Nkunda has been repeatedly implicated in numerous serious war crimes and crimes against humanity since 2002. In September 2005, the Congolese government issued an arrest warrant for Nkunda, accusing him of numerous war crimes and crimes against human rights. Human Rights Watch, for example, which has been calling for his arrest for war crimes and crimes against humanity since February 2006 and has documented summary executions, torture and rape committed by soldiers under the command of Nkunda in Bukavu in 2004 and in Kisangani in 2002. Also armed groups loyal to warlord Nkunda have been repeatedly accused of using rape as a weapon of war and the recruitment of child soldiers, some as young as 12 after the abduction from their homes. In November 2008, the UN mission in the country (MONUC), Humn Rights Watch many other organizations accused Nkunda of war crimes in November 2008; an estimated 150 people were killed innoncently in the town of Kiwanja by the troups loyal to Nkunda.

    The MJPC deplores the refusal by the Government of Rwanda to hand over Nkunda for trial. “How shocking that Rwanda which has been receiving assistance from the International community to arrest genocide suspects and hand them over to the ICTR or to Rwanda would not allow for the extradition of a war criminal accused of massacring civilians, sexual violence, abduction of civilians, including children forcibly recruited as fighters and then used to attack civilian communities” said Mr. Sekombo.

    “While Nkunda is not the only one who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, the ICC arrest warrant would mark a major step in promoting accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in DRC, added Sekombo. As part of its campaign to combat impunity in DRC, MJPC launched an online petition in November 2008 whic can be signed at calling for immediate arrest of Nkunda. So far more than 1365 people from over 50 countries have signed the petition.
    Press Release Distribution By PressReleasePoint

    Press Contact:
    Makuba Sekombo
    The online petit MJPC
    Kinshasaa, D.R. Congo
    1 408 806 3644

  3. MJPC Urges the ICC to Refer Congo to the UN (Security Council) on Ntaganda

    "There are serious dangers in continuing to allow Congo defy the ICC arrest warrant against Ntaganda; it sends a wrong message and could have disastrous effects in other countries"

    Citing the importance for the newly-created International Criminal Court (ICC) to remain an impeccably impartial institution, the MJPC reiterated its call on the ICC to refer the DR Congo to the Security Council for possible sanctions.

    The MJPC (Mobilization for Justice and Peace in the Congo) warned that in the Congo as elsewhere, the ICC as a new international instrument to promote the rule of law and ensure that the gravest international crimes do not go unpunished could quickly lose its moral value if it does not take concrete steps to start enforcing its own issued arrest warrants.

    "Frankly the ICC cannot put off forever bringing the DR Congo before the Security Council for its continuing refusal to execute the outstanding ICC arrest warrant against Ntaganda," said Makuba Sekombo, Director of Community Affairs of the MJPC, an organization that strongly denounces defying ICC arrest warrants in Congo. "There are serious dangers in continuing to allow Congo defy this arrest warrant, its sends a wrong message and could have disastrous effects in other countries," added Sekombo.

    Ntaganda is accused of several war crimes and crimes against humanity including: the massacres of 150 people in the town of Kiwanja in 2008 in his duties as military chief of staff of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), torturing and killing of hundreds of civilians of Lendu and Ngiti ethnicity between August 2002 and March 2003 when he was chief of military operations of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), slaughtering of at least 800 civilians on ethnic grounds at Mongbwalu, including the first priest killed in the Ituri conflict, Abbe Boniface Bwanalonga, killing of a Kenyan UN peacekeeper in January 2004 and kidnapping a Moroccan peacekeeper later that year, and recruiting child soldiers in the eastern region of Ituri. The MJPC is strongly urging the Congolese Government and MONUC to execute the arrest warrant issued by the ICC against Ntaganda.

    According to Mr. Sekombo, the failure in the arrest of Bosco Ntaganda to date highlights the lack of seriousness in enforcing arrest warrants issued by the ICC and strongly urges the ICC to refer the case of Ntaganda to the UN Security Council to find solutions in accordance with Article 87, paragraph 7 of the Treaty of Rome.

    The MJPC is calling for Congo to be taken to the Security Council, as it claims Kinshasa is in clear violation of the ICC treaty which Congo ratified in 2002. The ICC cannot afford to ignore its statutory responsibility to report this matter" to the Security Council," he said, adding that the Security Council would have the authority to require Congo to take all necessary corrective measures to enforce all ICC arrest warrants immediately.

    An online petition has been set up asking concerned citizens around the world to demand the UN Mission in Congo known as MONUC and the Congolese Government to act decisively to enforce the ICC outstanding arrest warrants against Ntaganda. The petition can be signed at

    Click here to read a full article on referring Congo to the UN Security Council if it continues to defy the execution of the Arrest Warrant of the ICC Against Ntaganda by Makuba Sekombo

  4. MJPC Joined HRW in Calling to Hold the Congolese Army Accountable for War Crimes

    "Failing to hold accountable soldiers who commit war crimes and crimes against humunity will result in conitnued sexual violence against girls and women in the DR Congo" says MJPC

    The Mobilization for Justice and Peace in the DR Congo (MJPC) called for a full inquiry into new allegations of continuing rape and sexual violence committed by the Congolese Army after a recent report by Human Rights Watch revealed shocking new evidence. The report documents how the Congolese Army (FARDC) has been committing serious human rights abuses that amount to war crimes in East Congo and calls on the UN Security Council to demand the Congolese Government to immediatly investigate and hold accountable soldiers responsible for war crimes.

    The MJPC is gravely concerned at continuing reports of sexual violence in eastern Congo. Makuba Sekombo, MJPC's Community Affairs Director, stresses "paramount importance of sending a clear message to all armed groups in the region – and to the victims of sexual violence in the DR Congo – that rape and other forms of sexual violence are unacceptable and will not be tolerated regardless of the circumstances". "Congolese army officers are not above international criminal law", and "Congo has clear international law obligations to do something effective to protect girls and women from sexual violence" added Sekombo.

    Rather than receiving appropriate medical and psychosocial care, women and child survivors of rape and sexual violence in eastern Congo continue to face rejection and stigma while the perpetrators of the crime go unpunished. The MJPC has launched an online petition calling on the Congolese Government to put urgently in place a comprehensive program of compensation for the victims of sexual violence which will encourage victims of sexual violence in Eastern Congo to report perpetrators to police and to express their needs for access to medical treatment, psychological services and other social resources. The petition can be signed at . "While no amount of money can reverse or address the impact of sexual violence on victims, the MJPC maintains that in this way, society at large, through the government, can acknowledge the humiliation suffered, shock and pain experienced by victims and provide the resources to help victims rebuild their lives.

    About MJPC
    MJPC is a non-profit organization working to add a voice in advocating for justice and peace in the DRC particulary in the east of DRC where thousands innocent civilian including children and women continue to suffer massive human rights violations while armed groups responsible for these crimes go unpunished.

    Makuba Sekombo
    MJPC, Community Affairs Director