Conflict between Rwandan rebel group FDLR and DRC armed forces in eastern Kivu provinces
The Force démocratiques de liberation du Rwanda (FDLR) is a rebel militia based in eastern Congo since 1994 whose primary purpose is overthrowing the government of Rwanda. Although initially tolerated and even supported by the government of DRC, a change in policy around the start of the 2009 Kivus conflict saw the FDLR become a target of government military operations, leading to a period of intense internal conflict between the DRC armed forces and FDLR in the Kivus provinces. The alleged war crimes of FDLR in Busurungi and surrounding villages in 2009 have been characterized as being part of a retaliatory response to this.
Confrontations and reprisals between FDLR and DRC military operations in the Kivus in 2009 resulted in large-scale civilian fatalities, instances of rape, and displacement. NGOs at the time estimated that upwards of 900,000 civilians were forcibly displaced between January and August, over 6,000 homes were destroyed, around 7,000 cases of rape were reported, and approximately 1,193 civilian deaths had occurred by October 2009.
Mbarushimana suspected of directing FDLR operations from France
The ICC arrest warrant for Mbarushimana - issued on 28 September 2010 - alleged reasonable grounds to believe that FDLR perpetrated crimes against humanity such as murder, torture, rape, inhumane acts and war crimes, including attacks against civilian villages between January and September 2009.
Operating from his home in France, Mbarushimana was alleged to have served as Executive Secretary of the rebel group since 2007, and inherited additional powers after the arrest of FDLR’s president in 2009.
Mbarushimana is also alleged to have participated in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, along with several other FDLR leaders.