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Japan nerve gas fugitive: hiding in plain sight

For many international fugitives, from Serbian General Ratko Mladic and Carlos the Jackal to Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda, the place to hide is in an open, urban setting.

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Venezuelan terrorist Illich Ramírez Sánchez, better known as Carlos the Jackal, took up residence in Khartoum as a guest of the Sudanese government. Mr. Sanchez had carried out a number of attacks on behalf of the Palestinian people, and was thought to have converted to Islam, so Sudanese President Hassan al-Turabi was reluctant to hand him over when asked to do so by the French government.

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But when French agents showed Mr. Turabi videos of Sanchez drinking and partying with multiple women, Turabi gave Sanchez the boot

Turabi said:

"We welcomed him as a combatant, someone who fought for the Palestinian cause, for noble causes. Now he's a hoodlum, his behaviour is shameful. He drinks and goes out with women so much that I don't know if he's a Moslem. Given that his presence has become a real danger we are going to hand him over. We have no regrets. Because of his behaviour, we are absolved from blame."

Last December, a French court sentenced Sanchez to life in prison for his bomb attacks that killed 11 people in the 1970s.

And then there is the Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda. Wanted by for charges of murder, torture, and other human rights violations, Gen. Ntaganda lived a comfortable life in the eastern Congolese city of Goma, often dining at fancy restaurants also patronized by the same United Nations peacekeepers who were required by international law to arrest him on behalf of the International Criminal Court at the Hague.

The problem was that Ntaganda was not only the leader of a murderous militia; he was also a serving general in the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, under an amnesty deal organized by the Congolese government. As long as Ntaganda served the interests of the Congolese government, Congo would not cooperate with his arrest and extradition.

That ethical gray area was clarified a few weeks ago, however, when Ntaganda issued a memorandum, calling for all able-bodied soldiers of the Tutsi ethnicity to join him in open rebellion against the Congolese government. Ntaganda has since fled with his troops into the Virunga National Forest north of Goma, pursued by Congolese troops and UN peacekeepers. Now, he is no longer hiding in plain sight.

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