A former Rwandan leader of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebel group has been brought before the ICC to face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Callixte Mbarushimana, the executive secretary of the FDLR faces 13 charges, including those for rape, murder and torture committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2009.
48 year-old Mbarushimana was arrested in Paris last year, and is accused of being the “linchpin” of the Hutu group.
Deputy Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that Mbarushimana had “represented the respectable public face of the FDLR," but at the same time has been plotting a “human catastrophe”.
Prosecutors allege that from Paris he “directed or helped to direct” crimes that were committed in the Congo.
Whilst the prosecution admitted he may not have had knowledge of "each crime that had been committed in the field", they said that he still "knew that crimes were committed."
The FDLR was established by ethnic Hutus who took part in the 1994 Rwandan genocide of the Tutsi people, before fleeing to the DRC. Here they are alleged to play a major part in disturbances in the area, where over 15,000 cases of sexual abuse were reported in 2009 alone.
Mbarushimana’s pre-trial hearing took place as the FDLR president Ignace Murwanashyaka and his deputy Straton Musoni were being tried in Germany for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The two went on trial in Stuttgart on May 4th after their arrest in 2009.