In a stunning, yet predicable court ruling, the Hague based International Criminal Court (ICC) rejected accusations leveled by the Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo against Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) leaders over this week. In the second of two rulings, the judges at the ICC dismissed the prosecutor’s application for an arrest warrant against General Sylvester Mudacumura, the military wing commander of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), for crimes committed in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
A day earlier, the ICC judges upheld an earlier ruling by a lower court chamber dropping similar charges against Callixte Mbarushimana, the FDLR secretary general.
According to sources at the Hague, one of the major pieces used in the decision is the AfroAmerica article of September 9, 2010 titled “Is UN Atul Khare falsely accusing FDLR and Mai-Mai of rapes in DRC?” (see here). According to the same sources, the article was a key piece of evidence and the arguments and the ruling basically follow the outline in the article.
In the article, AfroAmerica Network had disclosed that “Mr. Atul Khare’s briefing [to the UN Security Council] outlines several elements that may contradict his findings or at least cast a doubt on the findings of the report.”
In the same article, AfroAmerica Network concluded that:
“There is no doubt that perpetrators must be found, brought to justice and pusnished accordingly. The question is: why the rush to blame FDLR when most of the facts point to FARDC, especially the 111th and 112th brogades composed of former CNDP led by General Bosco Ntaganda, an alleged war criminal and responsible for systematic similar and worst crimes in the past?.”
Already last year AfroAmerica Network had disclosed that the case before ICC against FDLR leaders was shaky at best and most likely hollow. In the August 19, 2011 article, “Trials of FDLR Leaders Face Hurdles”, AfroAmerica Network had shown that the trial against FDLR leaders was based on shaky evidences and that “the prosecutor has tough time linking the FDLR leaders to crimes they are accused of.”
The latest ICC rulings are a bitter pill for the ICC prosecutor José Luis Moreno Ocampo, whose term is expiring this month. In fact, the cases against FDLR leaders appeared to be part of his legacy. Now that these cases have crumbled, perhaps the next prosecutor, the Gambian Fatou Bensouda, will pick up the pieces and rebuild the reputation of the office of the ICC prosecution. The self styled Luis Moreno Ocampo is from Argentina. Himself not a stranger to controversy -he was accused by a UN journalist of sexual misconduct in South Africa in 2006 and the journalist was allegedly awarded 240,000 euros following a ruling by the Internal Labour Organization- he did not need anymore setback before his term expired.
After the ICC ruling, the question is now what to do next. In fact, FDLR, which is one of three Rwandan armed rebels organizations based in the DRC remains and refuses to repatriate to their native Rwanda, which is ruled by a brutal dictator, General Paul Kagame, and the chaos and tragedy in Eastern Congo have reached new heights.
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