Press Release: 11 October 2010

New ICC Arrest: Leader of Movement involved in massive rapes in the DRC is apprehended in Paris


11 October 2010, Mr. Callixte Mbarushimana, a leader of the Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda (FDLR), was arrested today, in Paris, by the French authorities following a sealed arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court.

ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo thanked France for a smooth and efficient operation. He described the arrest of Mr. Mbarushimana as a “crucial step in efforts to prosecute the massive sexual crimes committed in the DRC” where over 15,000 cases of sexual violence were reported in 2009 alone. As late as August 2010, the FDLR was involved in the commission of more than 300 rapes in DRC’s North Kivu province, yet Callixte Mbarushimana blatantly continued to refute any allegation against his movement.

The arrest is the result of almost two years of investigations conducted by France, Germany, DRC, Rwanda and the ICC, into the activities of the FDLR “We are grateful to the French authorities for executing the arrest warrant and we are thankful for the excellent cooperation of the many parties involved in the investigation, including France, Germany, the DRC and Rwanda. This is a clear example of positive complementarity in action” said the Prosecutor

Callixte Mbarushimana is the first senior leader arrested by the ICC for the massive crimes committed in the Kivu provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He is charged with 11 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes including killings, rape, persecution based on gender and extensive destruction of property committed by the FDLR during most of 2009.

FDLR, a group calling itself a “liberation force” is the most recent incarnation of Rwandan rebel groups established by former génocidaires who fled to DRC after the 1994 Rwandan genocide. From the DRC, they regrouped, organized and launched attacks on Rwanda, with the goal of removing its new government through violence. Their activities contributed to triggering the two Congo wars, 1996-2002, which resulted in an estimated 4 million victims, the largest number of civilian casualties since the Second World War. Since then, the FDLR has continued to commit horrific crimes against the civilian population.

In 2009, the FDLR leadership decided to attack civilians in the North and South Kivu provinces in order to create a massive humanitarian catastrophe; the FDLR then tried to blackmail the international community and to extort concessions of political power, in exchange for ending the atrocities. As a result of this deadly blackmail, victims were killed, raped, and forcibly displaced, and entire villages were razed to the ground.

“After 16 years of continuous violence, this could be an opportunity to finally demobilize the group led by the former génocidaires” added the Prosecutor. “Their leaders are gone.”

This is a good day for the victims. This is a good day for justice. But there is still a lot to do to break the cycle of impunity in the DRC. Callixte Mbarushimana is in custody. But another commander sought by the ICC for massive crimes, Bosco Ntaganda, is still at large in Goma and his forces roam the Kivus killing and raping. He must be next”.

Attached: Fact Sheet
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Source: Office of the Prosecutor

Source: Office of the Prosecutor | Contact: [email protected]