For years, rebel group leader Callixte Mbarushimana has been living in France, enjoying impunity for heinous crimes committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Callixte leads the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a rebel group operating in the eastern part of the DRC, that has been responsible for innumerable killings of civilians, rape, abductions of women and girls for sexual slavery, recruitment of child soldiers, destruction of villages and other human rights abuses.
But fortunately, Mbarushimana’s spate of good luck may be ending. On October 11, French police arrested him on a warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC has charged him with five counts of crimes against humanity (murder, torture, rape, inhumane acts and persecution) and six counts of war crimes (attacks against the civilian population, destruction of property, murder, torture, rape and inhuman treatment). France’s actions have signaled its commitment to the ICC and to arresting war criminals.
In addition to France’s move, there are two other positive developments in the fight for international justice. Moldova recently became the 114th country to join the ICC. And the ICC trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo is finally set to begin on November 22, 2010, despite his last-ditch effort to appeal his case as inadmissible. Bemba is charged with two counts of crimes against humanity (murder and rape) and three counts of war crimes (murder, rape and pillaging) for his role in crimes committed in the Central African Republic in 2002 and 2003.
You can join us in the fight for international justice. Ask the US to support the ICC’s investigations.