March 26, 2013 |
Standing before the International Criminal Court on Tuesday for the first time, Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda denied he was guilty of a long list of wartime crimes. Ntaganda faces charges of forcing children to fight as soldiers and indirectly perpetrating murder, rape, attacks on civilians and other crimes against humanity. He was officially informed of the charges against him at the hearing Tuesday in the Hague. The warlord said he was not guilty before a judge interrupted and told him he did not yet need to enter a plea.
March 19, 2013 |
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- In his seven years on the run from international justice, Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda became a symbol of the International Criminal Court's impotence. Now the court, which lacks a police force to arrest those it has indicted, will have an unexpected opportunity to demonstrate its relevance in Ntaganda's case. The warlord-turned-general-turned-warlord, who launched last year's rebellion in Eastern Congo, shocked everyone when he walked into the U.S. embassy in the Rwandan capital of Kigali on Monday and asked to be handed over to the ICC to stand trial.
March 5, 2013 |
A decade ago, Canadian writer-director Kim Nguyen started working on the script that would become "War Witch," a film about a girl in sub-Saharan Africa who is kidnapped by rebels, conscripted as a child soldier and forced to commit horrific acts of violence. Around the same time, Rachel Mwanza was abandoned by her parents in the Democratic Republic of the Congo at age 6, living with her grandmother for a time and then fending for herself on the streets of Kinshasa, the capital. Nguyen was finally able to put his film into production in 2011 and cast Mwanza in the title role.
February 20, 2013 |
A few years ago, Rachel Mwanza was fending for herself on the streets of Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; this week, the 16-year-old actress will be in attendance at Hollywood's biggest night. Mwanza, star of the film "War Witch," has been granted a visa to travel to the U.S. and Canada to attend various award shows, including the Academy Awards, where the Canadian production is nominated for best foreign-language film. (The film is in French and Lingala.) "War Witch," directed by Kim Nguyen, tells the story of Komona (played by Mwanza)
January 21, 2013 |
GOMA, Congo - It's an ungainly beast of a machine: a wooden bicycle with handlebars like great bull's horns, two runtish wooden wheels, a chunky frame like a squashed triangle and no pedals. There's no seat either, just a kneepad fixed to the frame, made from a spongy Chinese flip-flop. The Congolese chikudu looks like it rolled right off the pages of a child's drawing book and onto the rutted roads of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Uzima Bahati, 18, was a child himself when he became a chikudu operator.
December 23, 2012 |
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo - On Nov. 19, armed men from a rebel group called the M23 were looking for a prominent civil society leader in a village outside Goma, a provincial capital in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. He'd been in hiding for several weeks after receiving text messages threatening him for his public denunciations of M23 abuses. When the rebels didn't find him, they shot his colleague, killing him. The next day, the M23 - fighters who had integrated into the Congolese army in 2009 but mutinied earlier this year - took control of Goma.