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DRC's Ntaganda faces ICC panel Tuesday

March 25, 2013 at 9:31 AM

THE HAGUE, Netherlands, March 25 (UPI) -- Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda is scheduled for an initial hearing before judges at The Hague, the International Criminal Court said.

Ntaganda is to hear charges against him during his initial appearance hearing Tuesday. The court said it would verify his identity and schedule a date for the opening of the confirmation of charges hearing.

Ntaganda served as leader of the rebel March 23 Movement in Democratic Republic of Congo. The movement waged mutiny on the government last year after saying it reneged on an early peace agreement that saw former rebel fighters integrate into the Congolese military.

He turned himself in at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda, last week and was taken to The Hague.

"He regularly and repeatedly reaffirmed his desire to go to The Hague, including when some ICC officials visited him directly before he was moved to the airport," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

He faces seven counts of war crimes and three counts of crimes against humanity committed allegedly in DRC in 2002 and 2003. He maintains his innocence.

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