A French court on Tuesday ruled that an exiled Rwandan Hutu rebel leader arrested in France in October will be transferred to the International Criminal Court over alleged war crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Appeals by Callixte Mbarushimana, the executive secretary of the FDLR Hutu guerrilla movement, against his detention and transfer to the Hague-based ICC were unsuccessful.
The ICC accuses Mbarushimana of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, torture and rape committed in eastern DRC in 2009 when UN-backed Congolese and Rwandan forces launched military operations against the FDLR.
Mbarushimana was charged in December of crimes against humanity by a French judge. He had been living in the country as a political refugee since 2002.
“There are many political elements,” says Phillipe Greciano, Mbarushimana’s lawyer. “Mr Mbarushimana is a French refugee. The International Criminal Court is not defending the human rights of Mr Mbarushimana. We don’t have evidence the Mr Mbarushimana is involved in those crimes.”
The trial came about after a victims groups’ filed a lawsuit accusing the former FDLR leader of personal involvement in massacres in the Rwandan capital Kigali during the 1994 genocide.
During the genocide, Hutu forces murdered more that 800,000 people, mainly Tutsi civilians.