Sacramento, CA (PressExposure) April 24, 2009 -- The Mobilization for Justice and Peace in the D.R. Congo (MJPC) today called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue an arrest warrant against laurent Nkunda accused of multiple war crimes and crimes against humanity which are well documented by various human right organzations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Laurent Nkunda, former leader of the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) armed group, was arrested on 22 January and is detained at an undisclosed location in Rwanda.
How long would it take for the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo to decide whether or not to issue an arrest warrant against Nkunda? echoed Makuba Sekombo, Director of Community Affairs of MJPC. The ICC Prosecutor has been investigating war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since since 2004, but the ICC reportdely opened an investigation into alleged war crimes committed in the DRC since 1 July 2002.
Nkunda has been repeatedly implicated in numerous serious war crimes and crimes against humanity since 2002. In September 2005, the Congolese government issued an arrest warrant for Nkunda, accusing him of numerous war crimes and crimes against human rights. Human Rights Watch, for example, which has been calling for his arrest for war crimes and crimes against humanity since February 2006 and has documented summary executions, torture and rape committed by soldiers under the command of Nkunda in Bukavu in 2004 and in Kisangani in 2002. Also armed groups loyal to warlord Nkunda have been repeatedly accused of using rape as a weapon of war and the recruitment of child soldiers, some as young as 12 after the abduction from their homes. In November 2008, the UN mission in the country (MONUC), Humn Rights Watch many other organizations accused Nkunda of war crimes in November 2008; an estimated 150 people were killed innoncently in the town of Kiwanja by the troups loyal to Nkunda.
The MJPC deplores the refusal by the Government of Rwanda to hand over Nkunda for trial. "How shocking that Rwanda which has been receiving assistance from the International community to arrest genocide suspects and hand them over to the ICTR or to Rwanda would not allow for the extradition of a war criminal accused of massacring civilians, sexual violence, abduction of civilians, including children forcibly recruited as fighters and then used to attack civilian communities" said Mr. Sekombo.
"While Nkunda is not the only one who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, the ICC arrest warrant would mark a major step in promoting accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in DRC, added Sekombo. As part of its campaign to combat impunity in DRC, MJPC launched an online petition in November 2008 whic can be signed at http://www.gopetition.com/online/23604.html calling for immediate arrest of Nkunda. So far more than 1365 people from over 50 countries have signed the petition.