KIGALI - The United States Department of State said on Wednesday welcomed the recent arrest in France of Callixte Mbarushimana, the FDLR Executive Secretary, on an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
A statement by Philip J. Crowley, U.S. Department of State’s Assistant Secretary, says that as a top FDLR official, Mbarushimana had also been listed in 2008 for targeted UN and US sanctions.
“Mbarushimana’s arrest sends an important signal that the international community will not tolerate the FDLR’s continuing efforts to destabilize the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including the recent mass rapes in Walikale territory in which FDLR forces are believed to have participated,” reads part of the statement.
“The United States continues to encourage FDLR soldiers and their dependents to demobilize and repatriate to Rwanda.”
The statement states that the US supports the ICC’s ongoing investigations into atrocities that have been committed in the DRC since 2002, as well as the steps taken by the Congolese government to pursue accountability.
“Ending the cycle of impunity is indispensable to establishing a lasting peace in the Congo.”
Mbarushimana’s arrest is considered by many as another blow to the rebels after the November 2009 arrest in Germany of FDLR leader Ignace Murwanashyaka and his deputy, Straton Musoni.
Nonetheless, activists are bothered by the fact that the ICC indicted Mbarushimana on 11 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, torture, rape, attacks against civilians, destruction of property, inhuman treatment and persecution, but omitted the Genocide he committed in Rwanda in 1994.