DRC urged to bring rebel war­lord to trial swiftly

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

KINSHASA: The UN has called on the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of the Congo (DRC) to bring to trial Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka, a feared rebel com­man­der who has sur­ren­dered to au­thor­i­ties.

Sheka and two com­bat­ants of his Nduma De­fence of Congo (NDC) armed group sur­ren­dered re­cently.

They gave up their arms six years af­ter a war­rant was is­sued against him for crimes against hu­man­ity, in­clud­ing mass rape and child re­cruit­ment. NDC fight­ers are al­leged to have raped 300 women, 23 men and 61 chil­dren at vil­lages in Wa­likale in a four-day terror spree in 2010.

The UN have also doc­u­mented the al­leged re­cruit­ment of at least 154 chil­dren by the rebel group.

The UN, through spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive for chil­dren and armed con­flict, Vir­ginia Gamba, called on the DRC gov­ern­ment to take all nec­es­sary mea­sures to en­sure that Sheka is tried promptly.

The trial, she said, must ad­here to ba­sic stan­dards of due process.

“The charges against him must ap­pro­pri­ately cor­re­spond to all the crimes com­mit­ted,” Gamba said.

The UN mis­sion in the DRC (Monusco) trans­ferred Sheka and his com­bat­ants to ju­di­cial au­thor­i­ties on Fri­day. Ma­man Sidikou, the head of Monusco, said Sheka’s sur­ren­der was a pos­i­tive sign.

“A fair trial will be a sig­nif­i­cant step in the fight against im­punity and a vic­tory for vic­tims of abuses by armed groups,” Sidikou said.

A num­ber of Con­golese war­lords have been ar­raigned at the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court for war crimes and crimes against hu­man­ity.

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