Rwanda rebel FDLR leader arrested in France

By Nangayi Guyson – Kigali – BBC – Rwandan FDLR rebel leader has been arrested in France on war crimes charges, the International Criminal Court says.

Callixte Mbarushimana
Callixte Mbarushimana

Callixte Mbarushimana is accused in the sealed warrant of 11 counts of murder, rape and other crimes during the long conflict in DR Congo.

FDLR fighters were recently accused of taking part in the mass rape of several hundred people in eastern DR Congo of which they deny any responsibility for the attacks.

After a Tutsi-dominated group took power in Rwanda, they fled into what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, sparking years of unrest across the border.

The court said there were reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Mbarushimana was executive secretary of the FDLR, and as such, was criminally responsible for five counts of crimes against humanity and six counts of war crimes in 2009

In a statement, the court said Mr Mbarushimana had “personally and intentionally contributed to a common plan of conducting attacks against the civilian population” with the aim of creating a “humanitarian catastrophe”.

ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said Mr Mbarushimana’s arrest was “a good day for justice” and marked a “crucial step in efforts to prosecute the massive sexual crimes committed in the DRC”.

But he warned there was “still a lot to do to break the cycle of impunity in the DRC”.

“Another commander sought by the ICC for massive crimes, Bosco Ntaganda, is still at large in Goma and his forces roam the Kivus killing and raping. He must be next,” said Mr Moreno-Ocampo.

Some FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) leaders have been accused of taking part in the 1994 genocide of ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda