Congolese national Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, an alleged former leader of the rebel National Integrationist Front (FNI), has been arrested and handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Mr. Ngudjolo, currently a Colonel in the national armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), arrived at the Court’s Detention Centre in The Hague earlier today, according to a statement issued by the ICC.
As the highest ranking FNI commander, Mr. Ngudjolo is alleged to have played a key role in designing and carrying out a murderous attack on the village of Bogoro, in the north-eastern Congolese province of Ituri, in February 2003.
He is facing three counts of crimes against humanity and six counts of war crimes, including sexual slavery and the use of child soldiers.
“With the arrest of Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, we have completed the first phase of our DRC investigation focusing on the horrific crimes committed by leaders of armed groups active in Ituri since July 2002,” said the Court’s Deputy Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda.
Mr. Ngudjolo’s initial Court appearance is scheduled for 11 February, and a trial date will be determined later. He is the third Congolese national in the custody of the ICC, after Thomas Lubanga Dyilo and Germain Katanga.
ICC Registrar Bruno Cathala thanked the Government for its help, highlighting the fact that this is the first time that the Congolese authorities, upon the request of the Court, physically arrested someone.
“His arrest and surrender were made possible through the cooperation of the Congolese authorities,” he told reporters in New York.
The situation in the DRC is one of four situations currently under investigation by the Prosecutor of the ICC. The others are Uganda, Darfur and the Central African Republic (CAR).
The ICC is an independent, permanent court that tries persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.