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Général James Kabarebe v. Laurent Mihigo Nkunda

This case summary is being revised and will be updated soon

Court Supreme Court (Kigali), Rwanda
Case number RP 0001/09/CS
Decision title Arrêt
Decision date 26 March 2010
  • Général James Kabarebe (Chief of General Staff of the Defence Forces Rwanda)
  • Laurent Mihigo Nkunda
Categories Crimes against humanity, War crimes
Keywords crimes against humanity, jurisdiction, war crimes
Other countries involved
  • Congo
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Procedural history

Former leader of the Congolese rebel group, the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) Laurent Nkunda was arrested in January 2009 by Rwandan forces. Despite strong accusations that Rwanda had been a major supporter of Nkunda’s pro-Tutsi rebels, Nkunda was detained after an apparent deal was struck between the DRC and Rwanda.

After several weeks in detention, a Rwandan court rejected Nkunda’s appeal for release in April 2009. The Government in Kinshasa has called for Nkunda’s extradition to face charges for crimes committed by his forces in Kivu, eastern DRC. Rumours of a sealed warrant for Nkunda’s arrest from the International Criminal Court (ICC) are allegedly supported by the outstanding warrant for his former deputy, Bosco Ntaganda, wanted for war crimes, but who now holds a position in the newly-integrated DRC army (FARDC).

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Court's holding and analysis

On 26 March 2010, after prolonged uncertainty as to Nkunda’s status, the Rwandan Supreme Court ruled that his case could only be heard by a military court, since the military had been responsible for his apprehension. Nkunda’s Defence had sought to have his detention declared illegal.

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Additional materials