The Hague, September 15, 2011 (FH) - Confirmation of charges hearing in Callixte Mbarushimana's case before the International Criminal Court (ICC) are slated to start on Friday.

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The former Executive Secretary of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) faces charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, notably for rapes, acts of torture and inhumane acts committed in 2009 in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

On October 11, 2010, Mbarushimana was arrested in France, where he had been living as a political refugee since 2002. He was transferred to The Hague on January 25, 2011.

If the judges of the pre-trial chamber confirm the charges, the case will move forward to trial.

As a leader of the FDLR, a militia created by exiled Rwandans in DRC, Mbarushimana allegedly participated in a plan to "persuade the governments of RDC and Rwanda, and the international community, to abandon the military offensive in favor of a negotiated solution on favorable terms for the FDLR".

According to the Prosecutor, this plan was supposed to "extort political power in exchange for ceasing their atrocities against civilians".

The Prosecution will have to prove Mbarushimana's command responsibility in crimes committed in DRC in 2009 while he was in Paris, living as a refuge with a legal residence permit.

When issuing the arrest warrant on September 28, 2010, the court also underlined that "at this stage, the Chamber [was] not satisfied that the suspect's contribution was essential to the extent that, if withheld, it would frustrate the commission of crimes as they were committed".

Mbarushimana is suspected to have planned the crimes with FDLR President Ignace Murwanyashyaka and operational commander of the militia Sylvestre Mudacumura. Ignace Murwanyashyaka was arrested in Germany in November 2009 where he is currently being tried.

Mbarushimana hails from Ruhengeri (North of Rwanda). He worked for the UNDP at the time of the genocide. The ICTR had open an investigation against him but charges were dismissed in 2002.

After the genocide, the defendant had worked for the UN in Angola and Kosovo, before coming to Paris. In September 2010, French Office of the Prosecutor opened an investigation against Mbarushimana after an NGO filed a complaint against him for his alleged participation in the genocide.


© Hirondelle News Agency