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by Alexandra Brangeon
13 October 2010
Rwanda has welcomed France's arrest of rebel leader Callixte Mbarushimana who is charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Rwanda's Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama told RFI on Wednesday that it was a "step in the right direction". Survivors of the genocide said that this should not mean that his role in Rwandan genocide should be forgotten.
"We would have wished that he had been arrested under the warrant of arrest issued by the Rwandan government to face charges of genocide committed in Rwanda in 1994. This has not happened," says Karugarama.
"The French judicial authorities have arrested Callixte Mbarushimana under the basis of a warrant of arrest issued by the ICC [International Criminal Court]," which refer to alleged crimes committed in the Kivus, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Karugarama says this was not Rwanda's preferred option although he ruled out requesting an extradition order following his arrest.
Q&A - Rwanda's Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama
As long as there is some form of justice going on, I think we have to live with that
"I think once one process is going on it is important to give that process time to take its course and make appropriate decisions."
Survivors of the 1994 genocide have welcomed Mbarushimana's arrest, but said his part in the massacre should not be forgotten.
"His arrest in itself is good news, but it shouldn't mask his role in the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994," Theodore Simburudali, the head of Ibuka, the genocide survivors' association, told the AFP news agency.
The United States also hailed Mbarushimana's arrest. State Department spokesperson Philip Crowley said it "sends an important signal".
"The international community will not tolerate the FDLR's [Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda] continuing efforts to destabilize the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo," Crowley said in a statement.
Mbarushimana, who is a former United Nations employee, was arrested in Paris on Monday and faces five charges of crimes against humanity and six war crime charges for murders, rapes, torture and destruction of property in eastern DRC in 2009.
He is not on the list of genocide suspects sought by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.