ICC Drops Charges Against Rwandan Suspected in Congo Violence

Posted December 16th, 2011 at 2:05 pm (UTC-5)
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The International Criminal Court has dropped charges against a Rwandan man suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

ICC judges on Friday ordered the release of Callixte Mbarushimana, saying prosecutors had not presented enough evidence to support the charges against him.

Mbarushimana had faced eight counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity in connection with the rape, murder and torture of Congolese citizens.

Prosecutors charged that Mbarushimana was a top leader of a rebel group, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, or FDLR.

The group, based in the eastern DRC, attacked civilians in Congo's North and South Kivu provinces in 2009.

ICC prosecutors did not accuse Mbarushimana of knowing about each crime committed by the rebels, but said he helped plot the attacks in order to pressure Rwanda's government to deal with his group.

The FDLR was established by ethnic Hutus who took part in the 1994 Rwandan genocide of Tutsis and fled to Congo after the killing spree was stopped.

French authorities arrested Mbarushimana in Paris last year on an ICC warrant. He had received refugee status in France in 2003.