Rwandan Rebel Leader Wanted for Alleged Crimes in DR Congo Sent to ICC

NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–25 January 2011 – Callixte Mbarushimana, a Rwandan rebel leader accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), was surrendered and transferred today to the International Criminal Court (ICC), a move welcomed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Mr. Mbarushimana is the Executive Secretary of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), the most recent incarnation of Rwandan rebel groups established by Rwandan Hutus responsible for the 1994 genocide of Tutsis and Hutu moderates in Rwanda.

Arrested in France last October, the rebel leader is alleged to be criminally responsible for 11 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes in the eastern Congolese provinces of North and South Kivu, including murder, torture, rape, attacks against civilians, destruction of property, inhuman treatment and persecution.

His arrest was the result of almost two years of investigations by France, Germany, DRC, Rwanda and the ICC, into the activities of the FDLR.

Mr. Ban welcomed today’s surrender of Mr. Mbarushimana to the ICC in The Hague by French judicial authorities, as well as the steps taken by the German judiciary to prosecute and try the President and Vice-President of the FDLR, who are also accused of having committed serious international crimes.

“This cooperative burden-sharing in prosecuting individuals for serious international crimes will greatly advance the fight against impunity,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement.

“Legal action against FDLR leaders also reinforces efforts to demobilize and repatriate FDLR fighters, which would significantly contribute to stabilizing the eastern DRC,” the statement added.

Mr. Mbarushimana’s case is the fourth on atrocities in the DRC before the ICC, the world’s first permanent court set up to try people accused of the most serious international offences, such as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.