Judges of the International Criminal Court have ordered the release of 47 year old Callixte Mbarushimana (pictured), a Rwandan Hutu militant leader of the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) who was accused of murder, rape, war crimes and crimes against humanity, by a majority decision.
The ICC stated that there was no “sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds” that Mbarushimana did indeed carry out the charges counted against him including torture, persecution, needless destruction of property and so on in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ethnic Hutu FDLR leaders are thought by many to have committed ghastly crimes including the notorious 1994 genocide of approximately 800,000 Tutsis and even Hutus who did not side with them.
After a brief armed struggle between armed Tutsis and the FDLR, many of the FDLR were forced to flee elsewhere; namely Congo which has resulted in the Rwandan government deploying hundreds of troops to Congo so that they can squash the remnants of the FDLR that is now carrying out guerrilla attacks on Rwandan borders.
Of course, this post-conflict conflict played out to lead to another conflict, namely that of the killing of almost 5 million people in the Congo.
Prosecutors at the ICC protested the release and announced that they will appeal against this order. Prosecutors say that Mbarushimana, who insists on his innocence, was a senior leader of the FDLR and responsible for the crimes counted up against him.
The ICC continued: “…there was not sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that Callixte Mbarushimana could be held criminally responsible for the eight counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity brought against him by the Prosecutor.”
Mbarushimana left Rwanda and started working in the United Nations until 2001 when it was revealed that he was being investigated by the United Nations’ criminal tribunal for Rwanda.
He was then arrested in the region of Kosovo and since then has been indicted by Rwanda’s own war crime tribunal in Tanzania but his case was dropped.