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Bosco Ntaganda: Kagame promises to help transfer to ICC

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has given his backing for the speedy transfer of Congolese war crimes suspect Bosco Ntaganda to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Known as “The Terminator”, he surrendered to the US embassy in Kigali on Monday.

Rwanda would help facilitate his transfer to The Hague “as fast as possible”, Mr Kagame said.

Gen Ntaganda has been a key figure in the conflict in eastern DR Congo.

The ICC has charged him with 10 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, accusing him of using child soldiers, keeping women as sex slaves and participating in the murder of at least 800 people in 2002 and 2003.

Gen Ntaganda denies the charges.

Transfer ‘within days’

He has fought for various rebel groups as well as the Congolese army in a country riven by ethnic divisions and a battle for control of its mineral resources.

Most recently, he was believed to be one of the leaders of the M23 rebel movement, which is fighting government troops in the east.

He has also fought for the army of Rwanda, which denies UN accusations that it backs the M23.

“We will work to make what the US embassy needs in relation to Bosco Ntaganda’s case happen as fast as possible,” Mr Kagame said in a statement.

His comments came a day after US assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Johnny Carson, said it was important that Gen Ntaganda’s movement from the embassy to the airport was “in no way inhibited”.

Mr Carson said he hoped that ICC officials, who were en route to Rwanda, would be allowed into the country.

Neither Rwanda nor the US recognise the ICC.

On Wednesday, the court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said she expected Gen Ntaganda to be handed over in “a couple of days”.

The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Gen Ntaganda seven years ago.

The DR Congo government said Gen Ntaganda, who comes from the Tutsi ethnic group, crossed into Rwanda on Saturday after he and some of his followers were defeated by a rival faction of the M23 group.

Rwanda denies helping Gen Ntaganda to flee DR Congo, or arranging his surrender to the US embassy, which is near the defence ministry in Kigali.

Rwanda’s government is also dominated by Tutsis and Gen Ntaganda fought with the former rebels who are now in power in Kigali.