Ntaganda Pleads Not Guilty

1462 Views The Hague, Netherlands

In short
Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda has said he is not guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity at his first appearance before the International Criminal Court (ICC). Ntaganda, who surrendered to the US embassy in Rwanda last week after days of clashes between rival M23 rebel forces, faces charges of murder, rape, pillaging and using child soldiers.

Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda has said he is not guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity at his first appearance before the International Criminal Court (ICC).
 
Ntaganda, who surrendered to the US embassy in Rwanda last week after days of clashes between rival M23 rebel forces, faces charges of murder, rape, pillaging and using child soldiers.
 
Until his surprise surrender, he had been one of the ICC’s longest-sought fugitives for his alleged role in brutal tribal fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo from 2002 to 2003.
 
At the pre-trial hearing on Tuesday which is largely procedural, 40-year-old Ntaganda pleaded not guilty after a court official began reading the charges against him.
 
Judge Ekatarina Trendafilova then cut him off, saying he did not have to enter a plea.
 
Ntaganda told the court he was born in Rwanda but that he is a Congolese national. He confirmed his profession as a soldier and said he preferred to speak in Kinyarwanda.
 
The court is expected to set a date for the confirmation hearing, which will determine whether there is enough evidence against him to stand trial.