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FDLR leader Callixte Mbarushimana arrested in France on ICC warrant

ICC - October 11, 2010
FDLR leader Callixte Mbarushimana
Callixte Mbarushimana

In accordance with the warrant of arrest issued under seals by the judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on 28 September, 2010, the French authorities arrested Mr Callixte Mbarushimana, suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the Kivus, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). A request for cooperation in the arrest and surrender of the suspect was also notified to the French authorities by the Registrar of the ICC on 30 September; the suspect will remain in the custody of the French authorities pending their full consideration of this request unless the Chambre d’instruction decides otherwise.

Ms Silvana Arbia, the ICC Registrar, expressed the Court’s appreciation for the French authorities’ full and prompt cooperation to date in the enforcement of the warrant of arrest and surrender.

Pre-Trial Chamber I considers that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Callixte Mbarushimana, a 47 year old Rwandan citizen, has been since July, 2007, the Executive Secretary of the Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda - Forces Combattantes Abacunguzi (FDLR-FCA, hereafter FDLR) and 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).

These crimes were allegedly committed in the context of an armed conflict which waged, in the Kivu Provinces, from 20 January to 25 February, 2009, between the FDLR and the Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC) together with the Rwandan Defence Forces (RDF), and from 2 March to 31 December, 2009, between the FDLR and the FARDC, at times in conjunction with the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A series of attacks, both widespread and systematic, were allegedly carried out on a large scale by FDLR troops in the period between January and September, 2009, against the civilian population of North and South Kivu.

The Chamber is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Mbarushimana, as Executive Secretary of the FDLR “Steering Committee” (Comité Directeur), has personally and intentionally contributed to a common plan of conducting attacks against the civilian population in order to create a “humanitarian catastrophe” and to launch an international campaign to extort concessions of political power for the FDLR. Mr Mbarushimana is suspected of organising and conducting the above-mentioned international campaign by regularly using international and local media channels.

The situation in the DRC was referred to the Court by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in April, 2004. The Prosecutor opened an investigation in June, 2004. Besides the case against Callixte Mbarushimana, three other cases are currently ongoing in the context of this situation: The Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui and The Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda.

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