France charges FDLR leader with Genocide

Ibuka welcomes development A French judge has charged top FDLR leader, Callixte Mbarushimana, for his role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, in Rwanda.
IBUKA PresidentTheodore Simburudali
IBUKA PresidentTheodore Simburudali

Ibuka welcomes development

A French judge has charged top FDLR leader, Callixte Mbarushimana, for his role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, in Rwanda.

According to reports from France, Mbarushimana, the Secretary General of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) militia was, on Tuesday, charged with crimes against humanity by examining magistrate Rene Cros, He was arrested in October.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague had also indicted him for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The 47-year-old was arraigned following a lawsuit filed by Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda (CPCR), a genocide victim’s rights group based in France, and Ibuka, the umbrella organisation of Genocide survivors’ associations.

Mbarushimana who had been living in France was questioned over suspected personal involvement in massacres at road blocks in Kigali and other parts of the country during the Genocide.

The new development in Mbarushimana’s case was welcomed by Ibuka, describing it as a “first step” towards justice.

“He appeared before a judge for a preliminary hearing. The real case hasn’t gone into substance yet, but the fact that he was questioned about crimes committed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi is a promising development,” said Theodore Simburudari, the president of Ibuka.

“We maintained that Mbarushimana, on top of committing war crimes in the DRC, committed Genocide crimes prior to that. He is remembered during the Genocide, as an employee of the UN who used the logistics at his disposal to engage in the massacres”.

Simburudari added that Mbarushimana should face charges for the murders, rapes and torture he directed during the Genocide, before answering the ICC charges.

“They are the same crimes that we want him to be charged with. He killed people in Nyakabanda and Nyamirambo (suburbs of Kigali) where he mounted roadblocks dressed in army fatigues. Many people were killed at these roadblocks,”

“There were also employees of UNDP who were killed after the evacuation of foreign staff. He played a role in that, before using UNDP cars to move around supervising roadblocks,” Simburudari said.

He added that when the genocidal government fell, Mbarushimana used his UN connections to work in several countries for the UN; including Angola and Kosovo, before he was exposed and subsequently fired.

In November, a court ruled that he could be sent to the ICC on condition he is not sent back to Rwanda, but Simburudari said that his victims would be prefer if he was charged in Rwanda or sent to the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

Mbarushimana has been living in France as a political refugee since 2002 where he conducted FDLR duties, including fundraising and advocacy.

The Government of Rwanda welcomed Mbarushimana’s arrest, with Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama terming it as a “positive and first step” towards the international community finally deciding to apprehend the free-roaming heads of the terrorist group.

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