The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for two Rwandan-born rebel leaders for their actions during a series of wars in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kivu region.
The Hague-based court said it found “reasonable grounds” to charge Bosco Ntaganda with four counts of war crimes and three of crimes against humanity committed in 2002 and 2003. Sylvestre Mudacumura faces nine counts of war crimes committed in 2009 and 2010, the court said.
Ntaganda stands accused of “murder, attacks against civilians, rape and sexual slavery, and pillage,” the court said in an e-mailed statement. The ethnic-Tutsi rebel was already facing charges for using child soldiers in a separate conflict in eastern Congo’s Ituri region.
In total, 11 people with links to killings in Congo have been indicted by the court. Ntaganda’s commander in Ituri, Thomas Lubanga, was convicted in March of using child soldiers in the court’s first ruling since it was created a decade ago. He was sentenced July 10 to 14 years in prison.
Fighting in eastern Congo began more than 15 years ago in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide in neighboring Rwanda that killed more than 800,000 people, mostly Tutsi and some moderate ethnic-Hutu.
At least 3.1 million people died as a result of the conflict in Congo from 1998 to 2007, according to the International Rescue Committee, mainly due to starvation or easily preventable disease.
Ntaganda is presently leading a rebellion in the Kivus that has displaced more than 220,000 people, according to the United Nations.