28 September - 4 October 2015
Compiled by Berta Fürstová
- Former FDLR leaders convicted by German court
1. Former FDLR leaders convicted by German court
Private but pro-government newspapers
New Times, 28th September 2015 ( originally published by Deustche Welle ) “Germany finds two FDLR militia leaders guilty of war crimes”
- Former FDLR leaders, Ignace Murwanashyaka and his deputy Straton Musoni, have been sentenced to 13 and 8 years in jail respectively by a court in Germany. Their four-year trial heard multiple cases of war crimes comitted in eastern DR Congo.
- The duo was arrested in Germany in 2009 and went on trial in 2011. Despite living in asylum in Germany for more than 20 years, prosecutors said Murwanashyaka and Musoni remained at the helm of the FDLR's activities from a distance.
- The pair's defense argued that as politicians, they had no influence on the military arm of the FDLR that committed the atrocities.
- Victims of the FDLR militia were heard via video telephone while others were flown from Rwanda to Germany.
- The trial was the first under the Code of Crimes Against International Law, adopted in 2002, which allows German courts to investigate and prosecute severe cases wherever they are committed in the world.
- Prosecutors had pushed for a life sentence for Murwanashyaka with no conditional release after 15 years and 12 years in prison for Musoni.
New Times, 29th September 2015. “Government lauds guilty verdict for FDLR leaders” by James Karuhanga
- The Government of Rwanda has described the guilty verdicts for FDLR leaders by a German court as an important step in ending the militia’s impunity.
- Justice minister Johnston Busingye, who is also the Attorney-General, said the bigger task, however, is in eastern DR Congo where FDLR continues to operate from and plan the completion of their “genocidal project” in Rwanda, propagate genocide ideology in the region, rape and wreck havoc on the citizens of DR Congo.
- Busingye also hopes the prosecution finds the sentences too lenient and will appeal. He added:,,Observers will scrutinise the fact that FDLR crimes are qualified as war crimes only, not crimes against humanity, because the court is not convinced they were part of a ‘widespread and systematic attack’ on the civilian population.”
- Dominic Johnson, Africa editor of German newspaper TAZ, noted that German jail sentences are usually remitted after two-thirds of their actual term.
- Musoni has already spent six years in jail and, as such, the arrest warrant against him was lifted. The New Times had established that he would walk free with immediate effect.