Confirmation of charges hearing in the case of The Prosecutor v. Callixte Mbarushimana scheduled to start on 4 July 2011
Situation: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Case: The Prosecutor v. Callixte Mbarushimana
On 28 January 2011, Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) set the date of the beginning of the confirmation of charges hearing in the case of The Prosecutor v. Callixte Mbarushimana for 4 July 2011.
This decision was announced at the initial appearance of Callixte Mbarushimana before the ICC. During this hearing, in the presence of the Prosecution and the Defence, represented by Mr Nicholas Kaufman, Pre-Trial Chamber I verified the identity of Callixte Mbarushimana and ensured that he was clearly informed of the charges brought against him and of his rights under the Rome Statute of the ICC.
A confirmation of charges hearing is held to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that the person committed each of the crimes charged. If the charges are confirmed, the Pre-Trial Chamber commits the case for trial before a Trial Chamber, which will conduct the subsequent phase of the proceedings: the trial.
Mr Mbarushimana, a 47 year old alleged national of Rwanda, was surrendered and transferred to the ICC on 25 January 2011, by the French authorities following a warrant of arrest issued by the Pre-Trial Chamber I on 28 September 2010 and his arrest on 11 October 2010.
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.