Rwandan rebel due in world war crimes court this month

5th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Rwandan Hutu rebel sought for war crimes in the Democratic Republic Congo should be transferred to the International Criminal Court for trial by the end of January, the prosecution said Wednesday.

Callixte Mbarushimana, accused of crimes including murder and rape in 2009, is in France where a court on Tuesday rejected an appeal against his detention and transfer to The Hague-based court.

"French law determines that the transfer has to take place within a month after the decision of the judge," an official in the office of the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor told AFP.

"We can, therefore, envisage a transfer by the end of January."

The ICC suspects Mbarushimana of five crimes against humanity and six war crimes including murder, rape and torture committed in east Democratic Republic of Congo in 2009.

The transfer of the 47-year-old, described as the executive secretary of the FDLR Hutu rebel group and arrested in Paris on October 11, will be worked out between the ICC registrar and French authorities, the prosecutor's office said.

Once in The Hague, Mbarushimana will make an initial appearance before a pre-trial chamber that will inform him officially of the charges against him.

He will be held at the UN detention centre in The Hague.

He has lived in France as a political refugee since 2002.

The crimes he is suspected of were allegedly committed during a series of "widespread and systematic attacks" by Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) fighters against civilians in the Nord Kivu and Sud Kivu provinces, according to ICC prosecutors.

They accuse him of having "personally and intentionally contributed" to plotting "widespread and systematic attacks against the civilian population in order to create a humanitarian catastrophe".

Some Hutu rebels who are members of the FDLR are accused of having participated in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda of about 800,000 people, most of them ethnic Tutsis.

© 2011 AFP

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