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Notorious Congo War Criminal Making News

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Notorious Congo War Criminal Making News

Posted by Laura Heaton on February 11, 2010

Notorious Congo War Criminal Making News

It seems the pressure may be rising against a Congo warlord known as The Terminator who is a regular at eastern Congo’s most posh establishments.

Wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court, Bosco Ntaganda was given a command position in the Congolese army when his rebel group, the CNDP, agreed to fight alongside the Congolese government as integrated units, rather than against it.  The integration came about after the Congolese and Rwandan governments struck a quiet deal that landed the charismatic CNDP leader, Laurent Nkunda, under house arrest in Rwanda.  (As an upcoming Enough strategy paper will explain, the integration has been anything but smooth.) Perhaps one of the most alarming developments to emerge from this deal-making is that it left the United Nations peacekeeping force essentially in cahoots with international war criminals.

True, the U.N. mission monitors the rosters of the Congolese army units it supports to ensure that its resources aren’t directly funneled to people accused of committing atrocities, but as a recent piece in the Guardian examines, the association between some of Congo’s most unsavory characters and the U.N. certainly conveys a distressing message in a part of the world where impunity is blamed for facilitating, or even encouraging, violence. Describing Bosco as a “casual sportsman in this oasis of luxury amid the poverty of Goma,” the Guardian piece offers this indictment:

"[Bosco] is the personification of what critics say is a ‘pact with the devil’. While the eyes of the world are distracted by wars in Afghanistan and elsewhere, many believe the thickly forested hills of eastern Congo are witnessing another shameful chapter in UN peacekeeping that ranks alongside the impotent displays in Srebrenica and Rwanda."

In his most recent op-ed from Bukavu, South Kivu today, Nick Kristof also identifies apprehending Bosco as one of the key steps necessary for changing the calculations of would-be killers and rapists in Congo.  (He also gave a shout-out to the Enough-backed conflict minerals legislation currently gaining momentum in Congress, which is appreciated.)

The more we see the names of obscure Congolese wanted war criminals in the mainstream media the better, especially when they seem to flaunt their liberty, giving leaders in the region no excuse for letting them walk free.


Photo: Bosco Ntaganda