Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Arrest Warrant Unsealed at International Criminal Court

Yesterday, judges at the International Criminal Court agreed to unseal an arrest warrant that had been issued in August 2006: Bosco Ntaganda is charged with child soldier offences, similar to those now faced by Thomas Lubanga, who is scheduled to stand trial in June of this year. Ntanganda is still at large, whereas Lubanga was in custody in the Demcoratic Republic of Congo when the arrest warrant was issued, and so it was a much simpler matter to bring him to The Hague. Yesterday's ruling considers the rationale for sealing an arrest warrant, including protection of victims and witnesses and, of course, maintaining an element of surprise. According to the Prosecutor, Ntaganda may have learned that the warrant had been issued. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia had a practice of sealed warrants during the 1990s, but later came round to the view that this contributed little to law enforcement, and that is was better to publicise the warrants.
In a statement issued yesterday, the Office of the Prosecutor said: 'The Office of the Prosecutor is in the process of moving on to its third case in the DRC, with other applications for arrest warrants to follow in the coming months and years. In particular, we are collecting information about crimes committed in the North and South Kivu. We are also considering the role of those who organized and financed the militia.' (See:
This brings to four the number of arrest warrants made public concerning the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The other three suspects are in custody in The Hague. There are two outstanding warrants known to the public for the situation in Darfur, Sudan, and five for northern Uganda. Two of the five suspects in northern Uganda are believed to be dead.

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