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France transfers Congo war crimes suspect to ICC

French authorities on Tuesday transferred [ICC press release] Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] leader Callixte Mbarushimana [case materials] to The Hague where he will stand trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on charges that the FDLR committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] in 2009. Mbarushimana denies allegations [AFP report] that he is responsible for the crimes, which include murder, torture, rape and attacks against civilians. Prosecutors claim Mbarushimana is responsible for the FDLR atrocities under Article 25(3)(d) of the Rome Statute [text, PDF], which makes it a crime to intentionally contribute to the commission of a crime by others. Mbarushimana, who was arrested in France on an ICC warrant [JURIST report] in October, is expected to appear before the ICC Tuesday to have the charges read to him.

In December, a French judge charged Mbarushimana [JURIST report] with war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide [JURIST news archive]. 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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