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War crimes accused to stand in Congo election

A militia leader, accused of horrific war crimes by UN investigators is to stand in Congo’s parliamentary elections.

Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka is alleged to have been involved in mass rapes committed by his troops, the Mai Mai militia in 2010.

Although Congolese prosecutors issued a warrant for Sheka’s arrest in January, he can claim immunity from prosecution, if elected as a member of parliament.

Human Rights Watch have called for his immediate arrest in a statement released on Wednesday.

"The failure to arrest someone who is out publicly campaigning for votes sends a message that even the most egregious crimes will go unpunished," said Anneke Van Woudenberg, principal researcher at HRW's Africa division.

"If the Congolese government is serious about ending sexual violence, then it needs to demonstrate the political will to arrest those implicated in mass rape.

"It’s a mockery of justice to start a trial before the principal suspects are even in detention and while one of the accused is openly campaigning for government office."

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