Congo: ICC Will Investigate Crimes Committed by M23 and Others

From Enough blogs Thu Nov 29 2012, 15:02:14

In the aftermath of the March 23 Movement, or M23, seizure of Goma, the International Criminal Court, or ICC,Chief Prosecutor Fatoua Bensouda announced that her office is investigating "allegations of ICC crimes by members and leaders of M23, and by other parties taking advantage of the chaos in the region." While documenting the M23's crimes is undeniably important, a robust ICC investigation into the other actors responsible for international crimes being committed across eastern Congo could provide much needed leverage to the international community as it seeks to broker peace in the troubled region.

The U.N.'s High Commissioner on Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has already found evidence that "advances made by the M23 rebel group over the past few days have been accompanied by a significant number of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed against civilians, particularly those fleeing the combat zones." Securing justice for the people of eastern Congo will require ensuring that all perpetrators of crimes are held accountable, both at the international level and within Congolese courts. Thorough ICC investigations into crimes being committed by all parties "taking advantage of the chaos in the region" will be a first step towards ending impunity.

Despite the Congolese government's attempt to secure his arrest earlier this year, the Rwandan backed M23 militia group's leader, Bosco Ntaganda, remains a destabilizing force in the Kivus. The ICC, which already has two outstanding arrest warrants ...

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