A Resolution:Possible round up | The ICC, FDLR and M23

15 June 2012 | marijnlizzy

15 June 2012

Fatou Bensouda has replaced Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo this week at the International Criminal Court.

International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo left office after a nine year term this week, to be replaced by Fatou Bensouda. Bensouda’s swearing in comes at a tumultuous time for the ICC. Currently four ICC staff remain detained in Libya, accused of passing secret documents to Saif al-Islam Gaddafi when they visited him in custody. Furthermore, the ICC’s investigations into the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) have resulted in one acquittal and one failure to obtain an arrest warrant.

Callixte Mbarushimana, Sylvestre Mudacumura and the FDLR

The FDLR is a Hutu dominated movement that is opposed to Tutsi political influence in Rwanda, and several of its high commanders were directly implicated in the violence in 1994, referred to as the Rwandan Genocide.

In late May 2012, the court dismissed the charges against the former FDLR secretary general Callixte Mbarushimana, on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence. Mbarushimana was accused of being a senior commander of the FDLR, which purportedly committed rape, murder, mutilation and the destruction of property in the DR Congo in 2009.

A day after Mbarushimana’s acquittal, the Chief Prosecutor’s request for an arrest warrant for Sylvestre Mudacumura, the FDLR’s field commander, was denied by the ICC judges. Mudacumura and the FDLR are still active in DRC’s Kivu provinces. A statement released by the ICC says the Prosecutor is “submitting an amended application for the warrant”. In the meantime, Rwanda’s Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga expressed his disappointment with both verdicts, stating “that the Prosecutor could not find evidence of crimes committed by the top leaders of FDLR is just a big joke.”

Bosco Ntaganda and the M23 rebellion

Bosco Ntaganda

In DR Congo another ICC indictee, Bosco Ntaganda, is thought to be a senior figure in the M23 rebellion that began in March, when several hundred officers apparently loyal to Ntaganda defected from the Congolese National Army. These officers were part of a splinter group of the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) – a Tutsi rebel group in the east of DR Congo. The splinter group, known as M23, reportedly including Bosco Ntaganda, is named after the March 23 2009 Peace Agreement between the DRC government and the CNDP that allowed for the CNDP “to agree to transform itself into a political party and fulfil the formalities legally required to this end” and for it “to pursue from now on the search for solutions to its concerns by strictly political paths and in the respect of institutional order and the order of the republic”.

Ntaganda also previously fought with Paul Kagame’s (the current president of Rwanda) Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which took the capital city Kigali after the fall of the Hutu dominated government in 1994.

The Congolese army recently announced it had killed 200 rebels allied with Ntaganda and seized a large cache of weapons in the eastern provinces.

Links to Rwanda seem to keep surfacing in the developments of the M23 rebellion. Its members claimed they were supplied with weapons by Kigali, and Ntaganda was spotted talking to military officials in the Rwandan town of Kiningi. At a MONUSCO demobilisation camp in Goma, representatives from both Rwanda and DRC interviewed 11 Rwandan M23 defectors whose stories differed from initial reports: “they now denied that Rwandan officers had taken them to the border, and they said the uniforms they had received were Congolese, not Rwandan. But they still maintained that they were recruited in Rwanda, passed through Kinigi, and provided with weapons and ammunition there.” MONUSCO has since stated that it has no evidence linking the government of Rwanda to the M23 group.

Ntaganda denies any involvement with M23, insisting in an interview with the BBC that he has been on his farm in Masisi.

Further reading

Rwanda: ICC Rejects Arrest Warrant for FDLR’s Mudacumura | ICC confirms release of Congo war crimes suspect |ICC: New Prosecutor Takes Reins |ICC Prosecutor persists regarding his request for an Arrest Warrant against Sylvestre Mudacumura | The M23 rebellion: Leading with the chin | Rwandan army ‘supporting DRC rebels | 200 mutinous soldiers killed in east Congo, says government | DR Congo’s Bosco ‘Terminator’ Ntaganda’s anger at ICC | Military stalemate, diplomatic positioning

Read our previous blog on Bosco Ntaganda here. 

The issues in this update are extremely complicated and forever changing. Just like you, we are constantly learning and adapting to new information. We are always open to a different point of view. If any of the information above is to your knowledge incomplete or incorrect, please leave a comment below, on Facebook, Twitter, or email us at info@resolutionpossible.org

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

You must be logged in to post a comment.