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France judge charges Rwanda rebel leader with war crimes: reports

A French judge has charged Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] leader Callixte Mbarushimana, according to reports Wednesday. Examining magistrate Rene Cros charged Mbarushimana with war crimes and crimes against humanity [AFP report] for his role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide [JURIST news archive]. The charges come in response to a lawsuit filed by victims' groups such as Ibuka [advocacy website, in French] accusing Mbarushimana of personal responsibility for killings at Kigali roadblocks. Mbarushimana was arrested [JURIST report] by French authorities in October on a separate warrant from the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website].

In 2008, Mbarushimana was arrested by German border police [JURIST report] as he attempted to travel to Russia on charges that he killed 32 people during the Rwandan genocide. In 2005, the UN asked France to bring genocide charges [JURIST report] against Mbarushimana, who was then in the country under refugee status. Carla Del Ponte, the former chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda [official website], refused to charge him and said the ICTR did not file an indictment against Mbarushimana because it lacked sufficient evidence against him.

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