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HR groups call on ICC to investigate Rwandan president for war crimes

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Rwandan President Paul Kagame

Rights groups have called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Rwandan President Paul Kagame for alleged war crimes for backing rebels in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

On Friday, some Rwandan and Congolese groups congregated outside the court in The Hague, the Netherlands, with banners reading “Kagame Assassin,” and “Freedom for Congo.”

Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is already probing members of the March 23 movement (M23) in eastern Congo with alleged ties to the Rwandan government across the border. Kagame denies his government’s involvement.

A lawyer for the rights groups, Christopher Black, said on Friday that Bensouda could contact the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to launch a case against Kagame, who has been an important military leader in Rwanda since 1990 and the country’s president since 2000.

Black added that the UN-backed Rwanda tribunal, based in Tanzania, has a “mountain” of evidence against him in its archives.

The tribunal has never pressed charges against Kagame, who is considered a key ally for Western powers in central Africa.

The M23 rebels defected from the Congolese army in April in protest against alleged mistreatment in the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC). They had previously been integrated into the Congolese army under a peace deal signed in 2009.

The mutiny is led by General Bosco Ntaganda, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of recruiting child soldiers.

Congo has faced numerous problems over the past few decades, such as grinding poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and a war in the east of the country that has dragged on for over a decade and left over 5.5 million people dead.


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