Rwandan warlord pleads not guilty in ICC

Mar 26, 2013, 7:26 AM EDT
(REUTERS/Paul Harera)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A Rwandan-born warlord known as "The Terminator" has said he is not guilty of charges including murder, rape pillaging and using child soldiers in eastern Congo at his first appearance before the International Criminal Court since his surprise surrender last week.

Bosco Ntaganda had been one of the court's longest-sought fugitives until he unexpectedly became the first suspect to voluntarily turn himself in by seeking refuge last week at the U.S. Embassy in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.

Ntaganda allegedly led rebels who terrorized eastern Congo in brutal tribal fighting from 2002-2003.

At the largely procedural hearing Tuesday, 39-year-old Ntaganda, said "I plead not guilty" after a court official began reading the charges against him.

Judge Ekatarina Trendafilova then cut him off, saying he did not have to enter a plea.