Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague in the Netherlands refused to issue an arrest warrant for a militia leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday, saying prosecutors failed to detail adequately the crimes he was being sought for. This is the first time ICC judges have refused an arrest warrant on these grounds.
Prosecutors said in May they were seeking the arrest of Sylvestre Mudacumura, accusing him of leading the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and charging him with five counts of crimes against humanity and nine counts of war crimes.
Leaders of the FDLR fled to Congo after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in which 800,000 ethnic Tutsis were killed. The group played a major role in Congo's 1998-2003 conflict, in which five million people died.
"The fundamental principles of fair trial do not allow the chamber to establish on its own any of the connections which are missing in the prosecutor's application," judges wrote in Thursday's decision.
On Wednesday the court dismissed charges brought by the prosecutor against Callixte Mbarushimana, also a FDLR leader, saying there was insufficient evidence linking him to an attack on a village in Congo. Prosecutors can file for a new arrest warrant. Nobody from the prosecutors' office was available for comment.