EXCLUSIVE: Shock As Court Sets Free Another Rwanda Rebel


viagra order geneva; font-size: small;”>The judges at the International Criminal Court ordered the release of Callixte Mbarushimana because of lack of evidence to back up the charges.

The development follows a ruling by an appeals chamber of the UN-backed tribunal for Rwanda on Wednesday which reduced to 35 years the life sentence handed to a former army officer who was accused of masterminding the 1994 genocide.

Theoneste Bagosora was originally sentenced to life in 2008 after being found guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

The move attracted heavy criticism from President Paul Kagame. Speaking during the opening of the 9th National Dialogue at Parliament on Thursday, Kagame said Bagosora should not have been let loose.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Kagame said exiled Rwanda generals were making alliances with rebel groups in Congo to destabilise his country. He, however, confidently said his army had ‘medicine’ for the insurgents.

Speaking with fury, Kagame said foreign powers who agitate for opening up of political space in Rwanda are the ones providing shelter to murderers of Rwandans.

Prosecutors said they would appeal, requesting to halt the release of the man considered to be extremely dangerous.

Mbarushimana, a Hutu rebel leader, has denied ordering his fighters to kill and rape civilians in 2009.

Years of unrest

The judges at the ICC’s pre-trial chamber declined to confirm the charges against Mbarushimana, 47, by a majority decision.

They said that “there was not sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds” to believe that the Rwandan rebel could be held criminally responsible.

Mr Mbarushimana, 47, faced five counts of crimes against humanity and eight counts of war crimes, including charges of murder, torture, rape, inhumane acts and persecution, and destruction of property.

He was a senior member of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) operating in eastern DR Congo.

The prosecutors said they planned to appeal against the ruling. To do so, they must submit additional evidence.

The prosecutors also filed a request to halt Mbarushimana’s release pending the outcome of the appeal.

In Friday’s ruling, the ICC judges also said there were substantial grounds to believe that FDLR members had committed several war crimes in DR Congo in March-July 2009.

However, they said those attacks against civilians could not be classified as crimes against humanity.

Mr Mbarushimana was arrested in Paris last October, following a request from the ICC.

Some FDLR leaders allegedly took part in the 1994 slaughter of some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda.

After a Tutsi-dominated group took power ending the genocide, some FDLR members fled into what is now DR Congo, sparking years of unrest in the region.

Rwanda has twice sent its troops into DR Congo, saying they are needed to stop Hutu fighters, such as the FDLR, from using Congolese territory to attack Rwanda.

This led to the six-year conflict in DR Congo and the deaths of some five million people.

The rate at which planners of Rwanda genocide are being released has triggered massive outcry and security concerns in the region.


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