DRC urged to bring rebel warlord to trial swiftly
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.