The United States may not be able to deliver a wanted alleged war criminal to the International Criminal Court (ICC), according to a report from AFP, due to Rwanda's unwillingness to guarantee safe passage to an airport.
Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda surrendered himself to the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda on Monday, according to Reuters, and asked to be sent to the Netherlands to be tried by the ICC.
The following are details surrounding the diplomatic stand-off and more information regarding Ntaganda.
Rwanda wanted no involvement in the transfer
On Tuesday, a report from the AFP indicated that Rwanda didn't want to get involved in the transfer of Ntaganda, who traveled from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Rwanda for his surrender.
"It is a matter for the United States who are holding the suspect, the DR Congo -- the country whose nationality the suspect holds -- and the ICC, by whom the suspect is wanted," Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo told AFP.
Safe passage not assured
On Wednesday, Ntaganda's travel access to the ICC seemed at risk, based on statements by U.S. officials.
U.S. State Department official on Africa, Johnnie Carson called on Rwanda to "do its part," adding that "it is a small but significant part to ensure that Bosco Ntaganda is able to move freely from the American embassy compound to the airport where he will board a plane and go to The Hague," according to the AP.
He noted that neither the U.S. nor Rwanda were signatories of the Rome Statue which created the ICC and neither country was obligated by international treaty to deliver Ntaganda for trial.
Ntaganda wanted for alleged crimes against humanity
According to the ICC, Ntaganda is allegedly criminally responsible for seven counts of war crimes and three counts of crimes against humanity.
The war crimes include enlistment, conscription, and use of child soldiers, murder, rape, pillaging and sexual slavery. The crimes against humanity charges include murder, rape and sexual slavery, and persecution.
Ntaganda was the alleged Chief of Staff of the National Congress for the people's defense (CNDP), an armed group active in North Kivu province.
Sanctions experts denied visas
A pair of members of a United Nations expert panel on sanctions and the arms embargo on Congo were denied visas to Rwanda, where that panel had accused the country of arming rebels in eastern DRC, according to another report from Reuters. Rwandan officials and diplomats called the panel members biased.
Members of the U.N. Security Council's Group of Experts dismissed allegations against Bernard Leloup of Belgium and Marie Plamadiala of Moldova, suggesting instead that the denials were political reprisals for last year's report.
Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and an amateur Africanist, focusing his personal studies on human rights and political issues on the continent.
- Politics & Government
- Crime & Justice
- Bosco Ntaganda
- International Criminal Court