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ICC rejects prosecution request to block Rwanda rebel leader's release

The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Monday rejected the prosecution's request that it suspend its order to release accused Rwandan rebel leader Callixte Mbarushimana [ICC materials]. Pre-Trial Chamber I on Friday declined to confirm charges [JURIST report], finding that there was insufficient evidence [decision, PDF], and ordered Mbarushimana's release. The prosecution immediately requested a stay of the release order [petition, PDF], arguing that Mbarushimana could continue committing crimes and that it might be difficult to rearrest him if the Pre-Trial Chamber's decision were reversed by the Appeals Chamber. The Pre-Trial Chamber rejected the prosecution's request Monday saying that only the Appeals Chamber could order Mbarushimana's continued detention.

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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