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Mar 19, 1:30 PM EDT

International court judges recommend starting trial in Congo


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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) -- International Criminal Court judges have recommended starting the trial of a former militia leader in Congo, so the case can be brought closer to communities that were affected by the atrocities he is charged with.

If the court's president agrees to the recommendation, it would be the first trial to start outside the ICC's Hague headquarters.

Bosco Ntaganda is charged with crimes including murder, rape, sexual slavery and using child soldiers in the eastern Congolese province of Ituri from 2002-2003. His trial is to start in June.

Ntaganda was indicted in 2006, but the government in Kinshasa did not seek to arrest him until he rebelled as part of a different group, M23. He was sent to the court in 2013 after M23 splintered and he fled to neighboring Rwanda.

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