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Rwandan rebel leader before ICC

2011-01-28 12:24

The Hague - Rwandan rebel leader Callixte Mbarushimana made his first appearance on Friday before the International Criminal Court where he faces charges of murder, torture and rape of Congolese civilians in 2009.

"My name is Mbarushimana, Callixte. I was born in Rwanda, in Ruhengeri. I am a computer engineer," he told a panel of three pre-trial judges in The Hague.

Mbarushimana was arrested on an ICC warrant in October in Paris, where he had been living as a political refugee since 2002, and was delivered to the world court on Tuesday.

Identified as a top leader of the FDLR Hutu rebel group alleged to have "spread terror" in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Mbarushimana will be officially informed by the judges Friday of his rights and the allegations against him.

ICC prosecutors suspect the 47-year-old computer technician of five crimes against humanity and six war crimes committed in DRC's North and South Kivu provinces in 2009.

He stands accused of having "personally and intentionally contributed" to plotting "widespread and systematic attacks against the civilian population in order to create a humanitarian catastrophe".

"Callixte Mbarushimana was a top leader of the Rwandan armed group FDLR, the last incarnation of the group of persons who committed the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, and whose activities in the DRC triggered the Congo wars," chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said after the suspect's transfer.