ICC orders the release of an alleged Rwandan rebel leader

The International Criminal Court has dismissed charges against Callixte Mbarushimana, an alleged Rwandan rebel leader, and ordered his release.

Mbarushimana was arrested in France last year under an ICC warrant involving allegations of mass rape and other crimes committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Prosecutors had argued he was a senior member of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) -- a group that the ICC blames for instigating war in Congo as part of its efforts to topple the government in neighboring Rwanda.

But ICC judges declined to confirm the charges and ordered Mbarushimana's release. Their decision is open to appeal.

They "found that there was not sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that Callixte Mbarushimana could be held criminally responsible ... for the eight counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity brought against him by the Prosecutor," according to a statement from the ICC.

Mbarushimana left Rwanda in the aftermath of the war and worked for the United Nations until he was dismissed in 2001 when it was revealed that he was the subject of an investigation by the United Nations' own criminal tribunal for Rwanda.

In 2005, CNN spoke with Mbarushimana in France, where he had refugee status. He maintained his innocence.

"I am not afraid of justice. What I am afraid of is injustice, like what is taking place in Rwanda for instance, where people are not really tried properly," he said then.


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