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M23 rebel Bosco Ntaganda in ICC custody

March 22, 2013 at 8:50 AM

THE HAGUE, Netherlands, March 22 (UPI) -- Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda is on his way to the international court along with escorts from The Hague, the International Criminal Court said Friday.

Ntaganda turned himself in at the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda this week. The U.S. State Department confirmed the surrender and said it expected Rwanda to cooperate with the court.

"Bosco Ntaganda is currently escorted by an ICC delegation that has left Kigali heading to the ICC detention center in The Hague," the court said.

The court said this is the first time a war crimes suspect has voluntarily surrendered to ICC custody. The court said the handover wouldn't have been possible without the support of U.S., Dutch and Rwandan authorities.

The Rwandan-born warlord, an ethnic Tutsi, served as the leader of the rebel March 23 movement, which is accused of war crimes during fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

M23 allegedly has the support of the Rwanda government, an allegation Kigali denies.

The ICC said a date for his initial appearance hearing would be announced "soon." Ntaganda claims he's innocent.

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