Washington - A top commander in a rebel group that has terrorised east and central Africa for decades is to face justice at the International Criminal Court, the US State Department said on Tuesday.
Spokesperson Marie Harf said that US troops in the Central African Republic (CAR) would transfer Dominic Ongwen to the Africa Union regional task force, which will then hand him over to the Hague-based court.
Ongwen, 34, a leader in the Uganda-based Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), was captured last week by US forces who are supporting the African Union's forces in CAR.
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The United States has never joined the International Criminal Court. Handing Ongwen over to the African Union would appear to enable the US to circumvent recognition of the court.
Harf said that the governments of Uganda and Central African Republic consulted and agreed to the transfer. Ongwen will first be put into custody of the Ugandan military's contingent of the African Union's regional task force before his transfer to the Hague.
The LRA has led attacks and forcibly recruited child soldiers in northern Uganda since 1987. The group, which often crosses borders into South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic, has been accused of murder, mutilation and child-sex slavery.
Ongwen himself was abducted by the LRA at age 10, according to the Enough Project, a Washington-based activist group that works against genocide and crimes against humanity.