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French court approves ICC extradition of Rwandan rebel leader

media Callixte Mbarushimana File photo: Reuters/Interpol/Handout

A French court approved Wednesday the transfer of the exiled Rwandan rebel leader Callixte Mbarushimana from France to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. He is facing charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The ICC issued a warrant to have Mbarushimana stand trial there for murders, rapes and torture allegedly committed in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in 2009 by the FDLR rebel force he used to lead.

He denies the charges.

The Paris appeals court approved his transfer to the ICC "on condition that under no circumstances should Mr Mbarushimana be taken back by any means to Rwanda".

Mbarushimana had been living in France as a refugee since 2002.

He was arrested last month on the ICC warrant.

His lawyers tried to block the warrant, arguing it could be a first step towards sending him back to Rwanda, where they said he would not get a fair trial.

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