United Nations: The UN Security Council (UNSC) has welcomed the surrender of Bosco Ntaganda, an African warlord accused of massacring Congolese civilians, but remained deeply disturbed by the worsening security and humanitarian situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
An alleged leader of several armed militia groups active in the conflict-ridden eastern DRC, Ntaganda has been wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) since 2006 for the war crimes of enlisting, conscripting and using children under the age of 15 to participate actively in hostilities.
Ntaganda surrendered himself voluntarily on March 22 and is now in the ICC`s custody.
"The members of the Security Council welcomed the surrender of Bosco Ntaganda to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands on March 22, 2013. The members of the Security Council paid tribute to all victims of serious crimes of international concern in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)," the Security Council said in a statement.
Noting that Ntaganda`s surrender to the ICC is a positive step for international criminal justice as well as toward the restoration of peace and security in eastern DRC, the Security Council members in a statement expressed their deep concern about abuses and violations of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law in the DRC.
Meanwhile, the US said Ntaganda`s surrender marks an important day for international justice and the people of the eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
"For nearly seven years, Ntaganda was a fugitive from justice, evading accountability for alleged violations of international humanitarian law and mass atrocities against innocent civilians, including rape, murder, and the forced recruitment of thousands of Congolese children as soldiers. Now there is hope that justice will be done," US Secretary of State John Kerry said.
Ntaganda`s expected appearance before the ICC will send a strong message to all perpetrators of atrocities that they will be held accountable for their crimes, Kerry said.
National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden described his surrender as "an important day for international justice and the people" of Congo.
"He has eluded justice for nearly seven years. Bringing Ntaganda to justice will be an important step toward ending the cycle of impunity that has fostered violence and instability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for far too long," she said.