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French Authorities Arrest DRC Rebel Leader

The International Criminal Court


French authorities arrested Mr. Callixte Mbarushimana, a leader of the Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda (FDLR), today in Paris pursuant to an ICC arrest warrant issued under seal on September 28, 2010.

The ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I has asserted that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Mbarushimana is criminally responsible, under article 25(3)(d) of the Rome Statute, for five counts of crimes against humanity (murder, torture, rape, inhumane acts and persecution) and six counts of war crimes (attacks against the civilian population, destruction of property, murder, torture, rape and  inhuman treatment).

Callixte Mbarushimana is the first senior leader arrested by the ICC for the massive crimes committed in the Kivu provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). FDLR calls itself a “liberation force” and is the most recent incarnation of Rwandan rebel groups who fled to the DRC after the 1994 Rwandan genocide. From the DRC, they regrouped, organized and launched attacks on Rwanda, with the goal of removing its new government through violence. Their activities contributed to triggering the two Congo wars, 1996-2002, which resulted in an estimated 4 million victims, the largest number of civilian casualties since the Second World War. Since then, the FDLR has continued to commit horrific crimes against the civilian population.

The arrest is a significant victory for the ICC after the recent refusal of other States Parties to arrest Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir while he was in Kenya. The Rome Statute and the ICC rely on the cooperation of States Parties to effectively track and arrest those accused of international crimes within its jurisdiction.

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