Rwandan Genocide Fugitive Scheduled for Court Appearance in South Africa.

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Arrest Of Alleged Genocide Fugitive: First Appearance in Court

The former Rwandan police inspector, wanted for his alleged participation in one of the bloodiest episodes of the genocide, will make his first appearance in court on Friday, according to Eric Ntabazalila, a spokesperson for South Africa’s National Prosecution Authority. A prosecutor will present the charges against him, and the state may request a postponement to gather more information about the accused. However, extradition discussions are not expected during the initial court appearance. The arrest of the fugitive took place on Wednesday at a grape farm near Cape Town, following an investigation by UN authorities.

One of the World’s Most Wanted Genocide Fugitives Faces Charges

Described as “one of the world’s most wanted genocide fugitives” by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT), the former police inspector faces charges including genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, and crimes against humanity. Over 800,000 Rwandans, predominantly Tutsis, were brutally killed in a span of 100 days by Hutu extremists during the genocide. The accused, along with others, is alleged to have been involved in the mass murder of more than 2,000 Tutsis who sought refuge in a Catholic church in Nyange.

Direct Involvement in Planning and Execution of Massacre

According to the MICT, the accused directly participated in planning and executing the massacre. It is alleged that he procured and distributed petrol to burn down the church with the refugees inside. When this plan failed, he and others used a bulldozer to collapse the church, burying and killing the refugees. Furthermore, the accused supervised the transfer of corpses from the church grounds into mass graves, intensifying the brutality of the crime.

A Lengthy Hunt Spanning Multiple Countries

The hunt for the fugitive spanned across several African countries due to his use of aliases and false documents, as well as his reliance on a network of trusted supporters. These supporters included family members, former Rwandan armed forces, the rebel group Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), and individuals aligned with the genocidal Hutu Power ideology. The United States had offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to his arrest, transfer, or conviction. However, it is unclear whether this reward played a role in his capture.

Continued Pursuit of Justice for the Genocide

The MICT took over the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in 2015, which was established by the UN following the genocide. Prior to that, the ICTR sentenced 62 individuals, including former minister Augustin Ngirabatware, with a 30-year prison term. Rwanda has been conducting trials for genocide suspects since 1996, executing 22 of them in a single day in April 1998. The country abolished the death penalty in 2007, removing a major obstacle to extraditing genocide suspects for trial. Additionally, various other countries, including Belgium, France, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, the United States, and Canada, have handed down convictions for crimes related to the genocide

SOURCE: Ref – Cape Town AFP

Images: google images

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