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"Terminator" to Face International Criminal Court

KIGALI - Bosco Ntaganda, a Congolese warlord that is accused of war crimes  in Eastern Congo has surrendered yesterday in Rwanda by walking into the US embassy and asking to be transferred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague to face charges.

Ntaganda, also known as "The Terminator", has allegedly been leading the M23 rebel group, which most recently at the end of 2012 caused great civilian suffering by taking over the town of Goma in the North Kivu province. He is thought to have committed war crimes such as conscripting child soldiers, murder, ethnic persecution, sexual slavery and rape. His surrender is a significant landmark for the International Criminal Court and presents an opportunity for the court to further strengthen its authority in global justice issues.

Rwanda has been suspected of supporting the rebels in Eastern Congo, particularly because of the abundance of natural resources found in the region. Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda, was several years ago a guest of Cinema for Peace where his reconciliation work and the movie "As We forgive" by Laura Waters Hinson were honored for efforts of bringing peace and reconciliation to Rwanda after the genocide. In preparation of the Cinema for Peace Gala For Humanity in Los Angeles 2013 which benefited Ben Affleck's Eastern Congo Initiative, we learned during a field trip to Goma from local NGOs that it was imperative that Rwanda stops supporting the rebels and that they should as a first step send  Ntaganda to The Hague, a message which we shared with our network and our previous guests.

Rwandan involvement in the surrender has not been established, but it seems plausible that the country is stepping up its efforts to stop the fighting and rebel activity in Eastern Congo, which has had an enormous toll on the civilian population in the region. The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda has expressed her thanks to Cinema for Peace for the "usual support", and sees it as an encouragement that the US and Rwanda as two non-member-states have been so cooperative on this matter. She commented: "It will be a great credibility booster for the court and another chance for victims to have a voice."

One of the major drivers behind the conflict has been the mining and trade of so-called "blood minerals" that are used in high-tech equipment such as mobile phones. Multiple initiatives are underway to produce conflict-free minerals and phones, such as Fairphone as well as the Conflict-Free Tin Initiative. Cinema for Peace organized a Special Screening on the topic of Eastern Congo during the World Economic Forum 2013, where we screened the film BLOOD IN THE MOBILE, winner of the Cinema for Peace Award for Justice 2011.

We invite you to watch the following films on the topics of Bosco Ntaganda, the ICC and blood minerals:

  • BLOOD IN THE MOBILE by Frank Poulsen, Cinema for Peace Award for Justice 2011, shows the connection between our phones and the civil war in the Congo. Director Frank Poulsen travels to DR Congo to see the illegal mine industry with his own eyes. He gets access to Congo’s largest tin-mine, which is being controlled by different armed groups, and where children work for days in narrow mine tunnels to dig out the minerals that end up in our phones.
  • CRISIS IN THE CONGO: UNCOVERING THE TRUTH explores the role that the United States and its allies, Rwanda and Uganda, have played in triggering the greatest humanitarian crisis at the dawn of the 21st century. The film is a short version of a feature length production to be released in the near future. It locates the Congo crisis in a historical, social and political context. It unveils analysis and prescriptions by leading experts, practitioners, activists and intellectuals that are not normally available to the general public. The film is a call to conscience and action.
  • CHILDREN OF WAR by Bryan Single, was filmed in the war-zone of northern Uganda over a period of three years by Director Bryan Single. 'Children of War' is a unique and incandescent documentary which follows a group of former child soldiers as they escape the battlefield, enter a rehabilitation center, and undergo a process of trauma therapy and emotional healing. Winner of the Cinema for Peace Award for Justice 2010.
  • THE RECKONING by Pamela Yates and Paco de Onis recaps the is an epic, nail-biting account of the new International Criminal Court's struggle to prosecute perpetrators — however powerful or concealed they may be — of crimes against humanity as the Court fights to establish its own credibility on the world stage.

 

Blood in the Mobile