France: Rwanda Rebel’s Arrest Sends Strong Message

The arrest in France of a Rwandan rebel leader for serious crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo sends a strong signal that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is at work investigating crimes in the Kivus and will pursue abusive commanders, Human Rights Watch said today. French police arrested Callixte Mbarushimana on the morning of October 11, 2010, in Paris, where he has resided since 2003.

Mbarushimana is the executive secretary of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda, FDLR), a predominately Rwandan Hutu armed group that has been operating in eastern Congo, under various names, since 1994. He is wanted by the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity (murder, torture, rape, and inhumane acts) and war crimes (attacks against the civilian population, destruction of property, murder, torture, rape, inhuman treatment, and persecution) allegedly committed in 2009 during the armed conflict in the Kivus region of the DRC.

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