Bosco Ntaganda, a former rebel militia leader known as 'The Terminator' and wanted for suspected war crimes in Congo, has given himself up at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali in neighboring Rwanda, Reuters reported Monday.
"We have learned today that Bosco Ntaganda entered Rwanda and surrendered to (the) U.S. Embassy in Kigali," Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo posted to Twitter on Monday.
The surrender was confirmed by U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
Ntaganda, leader of the Congelese rebel group M23, is wanted by the International Criminal Court.
News site Al-Jazeera described him as a "feared military commander who runs a vast extortion empire in the mineral-rich east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)."
Human Rights Watch said it had been documenting atrocities by troops under Ntaganda’s command for over 10 years. It said Ntaganda crimes include recruiting and using child soldiers, murder, rape and sexual slavery, and persecution.
"I can confirm that this morning Bosco Ntaganda, and ICC indictee and leader of one of the M23 factions, walked into U.S. Embassy Kigali," Nuland told reporters. "He specifically asked to be transferred to the ICC in the Hague. We are currently consulting with a number of governments, including the Rwandan government, in order to facilitate his request."
Neither Rwanda nor the United States has an obligation to hand Ntaganda over to The Hague-based ICC since they are not parties to the Rome Statute that established the court.
Ntaganda’s rebels have been fleeing into Rwanda or surrendering to UN peacekeepers in recent days after being defeated by a rival faction, Reuters reported.
Recent fighting in DRC, including infighting within M23, has sent thousands of Congolese civilians fleeing to neighboring Uganda.