THE HAGUE, Aug 17 – Opponents of Rwanda’s long-time President Paul Kagame asked the International Criminal Court on Friday to pursue him over war crimes committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
UN experts in a June report accused Kagame of supporting with arms and ammunition the rebels of the March 23 (M23) movement, which is fighting in the DR Congo’s volatile east. Kigali has denied the charge.
M23 has been fighting the Congolese army since April after a mutiny spurred by Tutsi army general Bosco Ntaganda, nicknamed “The Terminator”, against whom the ICC issued a fresh arrest warrant last month.
“We are asking the prosecutor to indict Paul Kagame,” said Nkiko Nsengimana, a coordinator of Rwanda’s United Democratic Forces (FDU) party. The FDU is the party of opposition leader Victoire Ingabire and is not recognised by Kigali.
Close to 100 protesters gathered outside the ICC’s heavily-fortified building in The Hague where they chanted slogans such as “Kagame, assassin!” and “Kagame under arrest”.
Lawyer Christopher Black said the request to prosecute Kagame for war crimes committed since March was filed on behalf of the FDU and a second opposition group, the Rwandan National Congress.
Florence Olara, spokeswoman for Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s office, acknowledged receipt of the Rwandan request, saying “we will analyse the information received as we do with all… communications to the Prosecutor.”
But she added: “We receive hundreds of such communications every year from all types of sources relating to the situations we investigate as well as others and we treat all of them equally.”