International Court Weighs Charges Against Congo Rebel

The International Criminal Court begins hearings against former DRC rebel accused of war crimes

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The International Criminal Court began hearings Monday to determine if a former Congolese rebel leader should stand trial.

Bosco Ntaganda, who was a member of the Union of Congolese Patriots, is accused of 13 counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity, including murder, coercing children to become soldiers and keeping women as sex slaves, BBC reports. Ntaganda, who was known as “The Terminator,” committed the crimes between 2002 and 2003, prosecutors say.

Ntaganda, who was also thought to be a leader of the Congolese rebel movement M23, surrendered at the American embassy in Rwanda last March. The chief prosecutor at the Hague, Fatou Bensouda, has five days to persuade ICC judges that Ntaganda should be brought to trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Bensouda said Monday that Ntaganda “prosecuted civilians on ethnic grounds, through deliberate attacks, forced displacement, murder, rape, sexual enslavement and pillaging.”

Ntaganda denies the charges.