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ICC declines to confirm charges against Rwanda rebel leader

The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] ruled Friday that Callixte Mbarushimana [ICC materials] should be released because there is not enough evidence [decision, PDF; press release] to charge him. Mbarushimana was allegedly tied to the murder, rape and torture of Congolese villagers by Hutu militia in 2009. He was accused of being the Executive Secretary of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] since 2007. The Pre-Trial Chamber found that evidence presented during the preliminary hearing in September was not strong enough to send the case to trial. The prosecution appealed [petition, PDF] the decision Friday:

In order to prevent irreparable prejudice to the Prosecution, it is requested that the Pre-trial Chamber stays its order on release until such time as it has ruled on the Prosecution's application for leave to appeal or, if leave is granted, until the Appeals Chamber rules on the request for suspensive effect. The Prosecution reminds the Pre-Trial Chamber that according to its own findings, endorsed by the Appeals Chamber, Callixte Mbarushimana, if released, has the means to interfere with the investigation, to commit crimes, and to abscond, with the financial support of the FDLR's international network.
The ICC is expected to rule on the appeal soon.

Mbarushimana was ordered to stand trial [JURIST report] at The Hague by a French court in 2010. In 2008 he was arrested [JURIST report] in Germany trying flee to Russia. In 2005, the UN asked France [JURIST report] to bring charges against Mbarushimana, who was living with refugee status in the country. At the time the former prosecutor for the ICC said that it did not file charges because there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.

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