Tag Archives: Callixte Mbarushimana

Appeals Chamber Dismisses Appeal in Mbarushimana Case

Building of the International Criminal Court in The Hague
An appeals chamber of the International Criminal Court has dismissed the prosecution’s appeal in the case against Callixte Mbarushimana.  Mbarushimana was charged with six counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity based on his position as Executive Secretary for the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, (FDLR).

The case was dismissed in December after the Confirmation of Charges hearing.  The details of the case were blogged about here.

 

Mbarushimana Case Dismissed at Confirmation of Charges Hearing

The pre-trial chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) hearing the case against Callixte Mbarushimana has dismissed the charges, finding the prosecution did not establish probable cause to hold Mbarushimana for trial. The case against Mbarushimana, previously detailed here, claimed that he, as the Executive Secretary of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, (FDLR) directed, and had command responsibility for six counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). At the time of his arrest, the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) detailed the charges this way:

[T}he OTP alleges that Mr. Callixte
MBARUSHIMANA is responsible for the war
crimes of (1) attacks against the civilian
population; (2) destruction of property; (3)
murders or willful killings; (4) rape; (5)
inhuman treatment; and (6) torture, and the
crimes against humanity of (1) murders; (2)
torture; (3) rape; (4) inhumane acts; and (5)
persecution.

The court offered the following explanation in its press release on the order, the 215 page order is available here:

Today, 16 December 2011, Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided by Majority, the Presiding Judge Sanji M. Monageng dissenting, to decline to confirm the charges in the case of The Prosecutor v. Callixte Mbarushimana and to release Mr Mbarushimana from the custody of the Court, on the completion of the necessary arrangements.

The Majority of the Chamber, comprising Judge Sylvia Steiner and Judge Cuno Tarfusser, found that there was not sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that Callixte Mbarushimana could be held criminally responsible, under article 25(3)(d) of the Rome Statute, for the eight counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity brought against him by the Prosecutor.

This decision does not preclude the Prosecutor from subsequently requesting the confirmation of the charges against Callixte Mbarushimana if such request is supported by additional evidence. Both the Prosecutor and the Defense may also appeal the decision declining to confirm the charges and the order for the release of Mr Mbarushimana.

Factual findings

On the basis of the evidence presented, the Chamber found that there are substantial grounds to believe that, from at least 20 January 2009 until at least 31 December 2009, an armed conflict not of an international character took place in the North and South Kivus, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), between the forces of the Government of the DRC, supported at times by Rwandese forces (RDF) or the forces of the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on the one side, and at least one organised armed group, the Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda – Forces Combattantes Abacunguzi (FDLR), on the other.

The Chamber found substantial grounds to believe that FDLR troops committed several war crimes in different locations and at different times, particularly in Busurungi and surrounding villages in March 2009 (murder) as well as on or about 9 to 12 May 2009 (attacking civilians, murder, mutilation, rape, cruel treatment, destruction of property and pillaging); in Manje on or about 20 July 2009 (attacking civilians, murder, cruel treatment and destruction of property); in Malembe on or about 11 to 16 August 2009 (attacking civilians and destruction of property), and in Mianga on or about 12 April 2009 (attacking civilians, murder and destruction of property).

Although the Chamber found substantial grounds to believe that acts amounting to war crimes were perpetrated in five out of the twenty-five occasions identified by the Prosecutor, the Majority found that the evidence submitted was insufficient to be convinced of the existence of substantial grounds to believe that such acts were part of a course of conduct amounting to “an attack directed against the civilian population” pursuant to or in furtherance of an organisational policy to commit such attack, within the meaning of article 7 of the Rome Statute which defines crimes against humanity. Accordingly, the Majority found that there were not substantial grounds to believe that crimes against humanity were committed by the FDLR troops.

The Majority of the Chamber, with the Presiding Judge dissenting, further found that Callixte Mbarushimana did not provide any contribution to the commission of the alleged crimes, even less a “significant” one.

Background

The DRC ratified the Rome Statute, the founding instrument of the International Criminal Court, on 11 April 2002. On 3 March 2004, the Government of the DRC referred to the Court the situation (the events falling under the Court’s jurisdiction) in its territory since the entry into force of the Rome Statute on 1 July 2002. After a preliminary examination, the Prosecutor initiated an investigation on 21 June 2004.

On 28 September 2010, Pre-Trial Chamber I issued a warrant of arrest under seal for Mr Mbarushimana. The warrant was unsealed on 11 October 2010. On 25 January 2011, the French authorities surrendered Mr Mbarushumana to the Court. He was then transferred to the Court’s Detention Centre in The Hague. In the Document Containing the Charges, the Prosecutor charged Mr Mbarushimana with five counts of crimes against humanity (murder, inhumane acts, rape, torture, and persecution) and eight counts of war crimes (attacking civilians, murder, mutilation, cruel treatment, rape, torture, destruction of property and pillaging). The Confirmation of Charges hearing was held from 16 to21 September 2011.

Besides Callixte Mbarushimana, three persons have been transferred to the Court with respect to the situation in the DRC: Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui. A warrant of arrest has also been issued against a forth (sic) person, Bosco Ntaganda, but has yet to be executed.

Investigations are ongoing with respect to the situation in the DRC

This is the second time a pre-trial chamber has declined to confirm the charges against an accused, the first was the case against Bahar Idriss Abu Garda, who had his case dismissed in February 2010.  The prosecution may appeal the court’s determination to not confirm the charges, and is expected to do so. The appeals chamber confirmed the dismissal in Abu Garda’s case.

Pre-Trial Chamber Confirms Charge in Darfur Case

Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued a finding confirming the charges against Abdallah Banda and Saleh Jerbo.  The court statement said the court  found that Banda and Jerbo should stand trial for three war crimes:

  • violence to life and attempted violence to life;
  • intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units and vehicles involved in a peacekeeping mission; and
  • pillaging.

The court included the following information supporting the charges:

These crimes were allegedly committed during an attack led by Abdallah Banda and Saleh Jerbo and other commanders and directed against the compound of the African Union Mission in Sudan at Haskanita on the evening of 29 September 2007. The Chamber found substantial grounds to believe that the attack was directed to personnel, installations, material, units and vehicles involved in a peacekeeping mission in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations which were entitled to the protection afforded to civilians and civilian objects.

Banda and Jerbo appeared voluntarily before the court, following the lead of Bahar Idriss Abu Garda who also appeared voluntarily, but won a dismissal at the confirmation of charges hearing.  The court has also issued indictments against the President of Sudan, Omar Al-Bashir, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Ahmad Harun, and Janjaweed leader Ali Kushayab.  The situation in Darfur was the first case referred to the ICC by the United Nations Security Council.  The second, Libya, was referred last week.

To date, Sudan has refused to turn the indictees over to the court, so the only ones who have appeared are the three who have appeared voluntarily.

The seventy five page decision is available here. There are currently three cases in trial stage at the ICC, the case against Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, a joint case against Matthieu Ngdolo Chui and Germain Katanga, and the case against Jean Pierre Bemba Gombo.  Another accused, Callixte Mbarushimana has recently arrived in The Hague. In addition to the Sudan accused at large, there is one accused from the Democratic Republic of Congo still at large and three from Uganda who have not yet appeared before the court.

There may be other indictments that have not yet been made public.  Indictments in the post-election violence in Kenya case were also released today.

Mbarushimana Confirmation of Charges Hearing Set for July 4

The confirmation of charges hearing for Callixte Mbarushimana has been scheduled for July 4, 2011.  Mbarushimana was arrested October 11, 2010 in Paris and transferred to The Hague in January 25, 2011.  The press release from the International Criminal Court, (ICC) describes the case this way:

According to the warrant of arrest, Mr Mbarushimana is allegedly criminally responsible, under article 25(3)(d) of the Rome Statute of the ICC, for 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).

These crimes were allegedly committed in the context of an armed conflict which waged, in the Kivu Provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), from 20 January to 25 February 2009, between the Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda – Forces Combattantes Abacunguzi (FDLR) and the Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC) together with the Rwandan Defence Forces, and from 2 March to 31 December 2009, between the FDLR and the FARDC, at times in conjunction with the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC). A series of attacks, both widespread and systematic, were allegedly carried out on a large scale by FDLR troops in the period between January and September 2009, against the civilian population of North and South Kivu.

Mr Mbarushimana is alleged to have been, since July 2007, the Executive Secretary of the FDLR. Pre-Trial Chamber I found that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the FDLR leadership decided to launch an offensive targeting the civilian population of the Kivus in order to ultimately obtain political concessions, and that an international campaign to extort concessions of political power for the FDLR was put in place, as part of the implementation of the common plan. The Chamber also found that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Mbarushimana, as Executive Secretary of the FDLR “Steering Committee” (Comité Directeur), personally and intentionally contributed to the common plan, organising and conducting the above-mentioned international campaign by regularly using international and local media channels.

The situation in the DRC was referred to the Court by the Government of the DRC in April 2004. The Prosecutor opened an investigation in June 2004. Besides the case against Callixte Mbarushimana, three other cases are currently ongoing in the context of this situation: The Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chuiand The Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda. The Office of the Prosecutor is also conducting investigations in four other situations: Uganda; the Central African Republic; Darfur, Sudan; and Kenya.