Rwanda welcomes rebel leader's arrest

Rwanda on Tuesday applauded the arrest of a Hutu rebel leader wanted for war crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Callixte Mbarushimana, a senior Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebel leader, was arrested in France on Monday on a warrant by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“This is a welcome development. The FDLR is a movement bent on genocide,” Rwanda’s chief prosecutor, Martin Ngoga, said. “We believe it is an international obligation to hunt its members wherever they are.”

“It is not enough to send troops to go after the FDLR fighters while their leaders move freely,” Ngoga added.

Rwanda had also issued an international arrest warrant for Mbarushimana over his alleged involvement in the country’s 1994 genocide in which Kigali has accused the FDLR rebels of taking part.

Ngoga urged France and the ICC to “pursue the case to the end so that Mbarushimana takes responsibility for his actions”.

Mbarushimana (47) faces five counts of crimes against humanity and six of war crimes for murders, rapes, torture and the destruction of property in eastern DRC in 2009, the ICC said.

The FDLR traces its roots to Rwandan army and Hutu Interahamwe extremist militia members who fled to DRC, ex-Zaire, when Tutsis took power in Kigali in July 1994 following the genocide.—AFP

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