Rwanda to pursue Mbarushimana
The Appeals chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) may have upheld the court’s earlier decision to dismiss charges against Callixte Mbarushimana, but Rwanda’s prosecution insists it will not be deterred from seeking his arrest for genocide crimes.
The Hague-based court yesterday again cleared Mbarushimana with regard to the atrocities prosecutors at the ICC claimed he had committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2009.
Mbarushimana is the Secretary General of the DRC-based Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) militia, largely blamed for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
ICC prosecutors argued he was responsible for rape, mutilation, murder and destruction of property in the village of Busurungi in DRC. But the judges said there was no sufficient evidence to back up the charges.
In December, a pre-trial chamber at the ICC found there was insufficient evidence linking Mbarushimana directly to the atrocities, but ICC prosecutors appealed the decision.
Speaking hours after the ICC appeals verdict yesterday, Rwanda’s Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga, reckoned prosecutors may have failed to gather enough evidence with regard to the crimes committed in the DRC, but insisted Mbarushimana would not get away with his alleged role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Ngoga says Mbarushimana committed “genocide and crimes against humanity mainly in Kigali against his colleagues at UNDP.”
ICC does not have the jurisdiction over crimes allegedly committed before 2002. “The ICC did a very bad job from the beginning. It is very disappointing and does not give hope in the case of (FDLR supreme field commander) Sylvester Mudacumura,” Ngoga told The New Times.
Two weeks ago, the ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo, announced he would seek an arrest warrant for Mudacumuru for five counts of crimes against humanity and nine counts of war crimes, including attacks against civilians, murder, mutilation, rape, torture, and destruction of property.
Mudacumura, the ICC prosecutor says, committed the crimes between 2009 and 2010 in DRC’s North and South Kivu provinces.
Ngoga said Mbarushimana’s “role with FDLR, which equally deserves attention and in which the ICC has messed up, is a matter in a different context.”
“In any event we believe these cases remain our own and in no circumstances does the ICC process put to an end our own efforts,” added the prosecutor general.
Mbarushimana was taken to the ICC’s detention facility in The Hague, in January 2011. In December, after the pre-trial chamber’s decision, he was released and facilitated by the court to return to France.