The former Congolese rebel leader Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui today made his first appearance before the International Criminal Court (ICC), where he is facing nine counts of war crimes that include allegations of sexual slavery and the use of child soldiers.
Judges at the ICC, which sits in The Hague, verified Mr. Ngudjolo Chui’s identity and had the full arrest warrant read out to him, four days after he was arrested by authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and handed over to the court.
The ICC is scheduled to hold a hearing tomorrow to determine whether to join the charges against Mr. Ngudjolo Chui with the charges against Germain Katanga, another indictee before the tribunal.
Currently a colonel in the DRC’s national armed forces, Mr. Ngudjolo Chui is a former commander of the rebel National Integrationalist Front (FNI), and he faces three counts of crimes against humanity and six of war crimes.
He is alleged to have played a key role in designing and carrying out a deadly attack on the village of Bogoro, in the north-eastern DRC province of Ituri, in February 2003.
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.
The situation in the DRC is one of four situations currently under investigation by the ICC Prosecutor. The others are the Darfur region of Sudan, the Central African Republic and Uganda.