The detention centre of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is one of the best in the world. Warlord Bosco Ntaganda – charged with international crimes – is currently flying, in what seems a special plane, from Kigali to a Dutch aeroport. He is formally in ICC-custody now (22 March, 13:00 hours).
Unless something goes terribly wrong, Ntaganda will be spending the next years in ICC-detention. The first arrest warrant against ‘The Terminator’ was issued in 2006. So it took seven years, a shocking trail of atrocities and many thousands more victims, for Ntaganda to turn himself ‘voluntarily’ in.
What are the conditions when he is in custody? In ICC-detention, which is run by the Dutch State, things have been improved over time. One of the complaints of the detainees used to be: the Dutch food. Indeed not something we are famous for. Although globalisation has done a lot to get a more varried cuisine in The Netherlands in general, the daily Dutch menu can still be really boring and uninspiring. Certainly compared to the tasty dishes of the African, French, Italian and Asian cuisine.
When I spoke to Mr. Marc Dubuisson, Director Division of Court Services, in 2011 he told me it had not been easy to get the menu for detainees - which had consisted of bread, cheese, milk and other very Dutch products and dishes – changed. ‘We fought for this more than six years,’ Dubuisson said. Finally there is now a list with more exotic products the detainees can order from. It includes ingredients with which they can prepare an African meal. ‘Indeed, they cook themselves almost every day,’ Dubuisson explained. Some detainees even made major improvements in cooking styles. One became a skilled baker. That’s why detainees, guards and other officials can every now and then enjoy the smell of freshly baked cake coming from the kitchen.