Ntaganda — wanted by the ICC since 2006 and accused of recruiting child soldiers, organising sexual slavery and murder — walked into the US Embassy in Kigali this week and asked to be transferred to the court in The Hague.

Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda was on Friday transferred to the custody of the International Criminal Court (ICC), where he was expected to face trial on war crimes charges.

Ntaganda — wanted by the ICC since 2006 and accused of recruiting child soldiers, organising sexual slavery and murder — walked into the US Embassy in Kigali this week and asked to be transferred to the court in The Hague.

“Bosco Ntaganda is currently escorted by an ICC delegation that has left Kigali heading to the ICC detention centre in The Hague,” the ICC said in a statement, noting that he is the first person to voluntarily surrender to the court.

Neither Rwanda nor the United States are parties to the ICC treaty, but they have pledged to cooperate with the court on Ntaganda’s case.

Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanda’s Foreign Minister, also confirmed that the man known as “The Terminator” was on a flight to Europe. US embassy officials said he had left their compound in the care of an ICC delegation.

Analysts say that the 40-year-old Congolese militant handed himself in out of desperation, after his fighters suffered heavy losses.

His M23 rebel group, which operates out of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, split last month and his faction lost a series of heavy battles, forcing its leadership and fighters to flee to neighbouring Rwanda.

Rwanda and Uganda deny accusations by UN experts that they have violated arms sanctions and given key support to M23 in the past year. The group is accused of carrying out serious abuses in the volatile east of the massive central African nation.

Much of the fighting in eastern Congo is over the control of natural resources — including cobalt, used in mobile phones, and copper — and trade routes.

The only person tried and convicted at the ICC is Congolese national Thomas Lubanga, 52, who last year was found guilty of using child soldiers.

Lubanga and Ntaganda were in the same umbrella political grouping during the Congolese civil war, which ended in a fragile peace in 2003, though the east of the country is still home to numerous armed groups.

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