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Prosecutor seeks new Congo war crimes warrants

By the CNN Wire Staff
May 21, 2012 -- Updated 1126 GMT (1926 HKT)
Luis Moreno-Ocampo seeks an expansion of a current arrest warrant against Bosco Ntaganda.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo seeks an expansion of a current arrest warrant against Bosco Ntaganda.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Luis Moreno-Ocampo is asking for new charges against a former Congolese rebel leader
  • Court issued an arrest for Bosco Ntaganda in 2006 for his alleged role in crimes
  • The FDLR has included leaders of Rwanda's 1994 genocide and other displaced Rwandan Hutus
  • Congolese government called in April for Ntaganda's arrest for war crimes

(CNN) -- International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has announced new charges against a former Congolese rebel leader who is also a general in the Congolese Army despite having been already accused of war crimes.

The court issued an arrest warrant for Bosco Ntaganda in 2006 for his alleged role in perpetrating crimes against humanity, including the conscription of child soldiers in an eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In a statement Monday, Moreno-Ocampo said he is now seeking "an expansion of a current arrest warrant against Mr. Ntaganda," after reviewing evidence in the case against Thomas Lubanga, a former Congolese militia leader facing life imprisonment after being sent to The Hague for prosecution in 2006.

Moreno-Ocampo also requested an arrest warrant for Sylvestre Mudacumura, a militia leader for the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, according to the statement.

"The followers of Ntaganda and Mudacumura have to understand that it is time for them to demobilize and stop their crimes, even help in arresting the leaders," the chief prosecutor said. "So it's time to refine the methods and we hope the Congolese army and the Rwandan army, if it is involved, can transform these military operations into arrest operations."

The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, a militia group largely based in eastern Congo, has included leaders of Rwanda's 1994 genocide and other displaced Rwandan Hutus. The group was also heavily involved in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's 1998 war.

Last month, the Congolese government called for Ntaganda's arrest for war crimes, sparking clashes as forces loyal to him deserted the national army, forcing thousands to resettle along the border in Rwandan refugee camps.

CNN's Nima Elbagir contributed to this report.

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