New charges against Bosco Ntaganda reflect the maturity of the court to tackle a oft unspoken human rights abuse—rape as a weapon of war.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court

The international criminal court (ICC) has taken a stand on rape used as a weapon of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo announced on Monday that he is seeking new charges against Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda, as well as an arrest warrant for Sylvestre Mudacumura the head of a Rwandan rebel group, both of whom are allegedly responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the DRC.

Ntaganda has been wanted by the Court since 2006 for recruiting child soldiers and using children under 15 to participate actively in hostilities in the eastern province of Ituri between 2002 and 2003. Thomas Lubanga, Ntaganda’s former boss, was arrested and found guilty of these crimes but Ntaganda is still at large.

Prosecutor Ocampo wants to expand these charges to include murder, persecution based on ethnic grounds, rape, sexual slavery, attacking civilians and pillaging. The additional charges reflect the maturity of the court to tackle a major human rights abuse that has plagued eastern DRC—rape as a weapon of war.

This is a timely intervention by the Court and comes in the wake of a statement made by Margot Wallström, the Secretary-General’s special representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, who voiced her concern about the latest wave of fighting in the east—especially in areas that have previously witnessed sexual violence committed against civilians by members of armed groups.

Wallström called “on all parties to immediately refrain from any acts of violence and urge the Government of DRC to ensure the protection of civilians, including from sexual violence,” sending a warning message that the world is watching and that the fight against impunity will continue.

The Court filed another arrest warrant application, against a leader of one of the most active militia in the Kivu provinces, Sylvestre Mudacumura, the Supreme Commander of the FDLR-FOCA. The FLDR-FOCA is an armed group created by people allegedly involved in the Rwandan genocide of 1994 who fled Rwanda and relocated in eastern DRC.

Mudacumura is charged with five counts of crimes against humanity: murder, inhumane acts, rape, torture and persecution and nine counts of war crimes: attacks against civilian population, murder or willful killing, mutilation, cruel treatment, rape, torture, destruction of property, pillaging, and outrage upon personal dignity. The alleged crimes were committed by the FDLR-FOCA between January 20, 2009 and August 31, 2010, in North and South Kivu Provinces.

By issuing new arrest warrants, the Court has done its part to curb the culture of impunity that has evolved in eastern DRC following years of conflict. But it is up to the Congolese government to enforce the arrest these individuals, which is no small feat given that Mudacumura and Ntaganda command support from hundreds of fighters capable to challenge Congolese troops.

Save Darfur Privacy Policy

We will never sell, rent or share your personal information with a 3rd party, especially your email addresses and phone numbers, unless required by law. Never ever! Because we hate spam just as much as you do.

How do we use the information you provide?

Save Darfur uses the information we collect from you in an effort to engage you as an online activist. We will use your email address to send you periodic updates, actions you can take and for contributions. An option to unsubscribe will be in every email we send. While we won't get tired of watching Bashir, we respect your right to take a break.

Data tracking.

Some information other than personally identifiable information may automatically be collected as you browse our site. In order to consistently improve our online activities, we use cookies,track email open rates and periodically analyze our web traffic. This information helps us improve the quality of the site and enhance our online outreach efforts.

Information on children’s privacy.

We believe every precaution must be taken to protect children online. Save Darfur does not knowingly ask children 13 and under for any information. Visitors who are 13 or under should ask a parent or legal guardian for assistance when using Save Darfur and should not submit any personally identifiable information.

Links to other web sites.

Save Darfur provides links to third party web sites, and other web sites may link to our web site. Save Darfur does not endorse, nor is it responsible for the content of any third-party web sites we may list on Save Darfur. Sites that are linked to our site may have different policies; please review the privacy policy notices on those sites for details.