DRC militia leader charged with war crimes

March 26, 2013 at 5:23 PM

THE HAGUE, Netherlands, March 26 (UPI) -- An alleged former leader of a militia in the Democratic Republic of Congo was formally charged with war crimes Tuesday before the International Criminal Court.

The court in the Netherlands scheduled a full hearing on the charges for Sept. 23. That hearing will determine if there is enough evidence to hold Bosco Ntaganda for trial.

Ntaganda allegedly served as deputy chief of staff for the Forces Patriotiques pour la Liberation du Congo or Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo. He is charged with seven counts involving the recruitment and use of child soldiers, use of rape as a weapon of war and murder in 2002 and 2003.

A Congolese citizen, Ntaganda surrendered earlier this month at the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda.

According to his Wikipedia entry, Ntaganda was born in Rwanda but fled the country as a teenager during the 1994 massacre of Tutsis. He later participated in the overthrow of the Hutu government.

Ntaganda became a citizen of the DRC and has been a member of several organizations. He became a general when the National Congress for the Defense of the People was incorporated into the DRC's army.

The United Nations imposed a travel freeze on him in 2005.

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