Kabila Rejects International Pressure on General Bosco Ntaganda

Posted April 11th, 2012 at 5:50 pm (UTC-5)
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The president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila, has rejected international pressure to arrest an army general wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes.

Mr. Kabila told reporters during a trip to the country's east Wednesday that Bosco Ntaganda will be arrested, but for the sake of the Congolese people.

“We are going to arrest him, we have more than 100 reasons to arrest him and judge him here, and if it's not in Goma it will be in Kinshasa or elsewhere. It's not the reasons that we're missing, and they're telling me about the pressures that will continue to arrive from the international community. I work for our population, for all the Congo and north Kivu and everything that we will do will be for this population.''

The ICC charged Ntaganda with war crimes committed during the country's civil war, including recruiting children to fight. At the time, Ntaganda was deputy commander of an armed political group called the Union of Congolese Patriots.

The head of the Congolese army, General Didier Etumba, acknowledged that Bosco was responsible for the killings performed under his command and said there is no place for him in the Congolese army.

“We should admit that the troops were just following their commander, so it wasn't the actions of the men, it's their commander who wanted to use them.”

Last week, Ntaganda, a former rebel leader, ordered soldiers under his command in eastern Congo to defect and help bolster his personal security. President Kabila traveled to the region this week to convince the soldiers who defected to return to the army.

A 2009 peace deal called for the rebels to be integrated into Congo's national forces.