9 July 2008

Rwanda: FDRL Top Official Arrested in Germany

FRANKFURT - German police have arrested another major fugitive wanted for the 1994 Tutsi Genocide.

According to the Office of the Prosecutor General, Callixte Mbarushimana, a former core member of the extremist Coalition for the Defence of the Republic (CDR) party was on Monday arrested in Germany at the Frankfurt Airport by the border police.

Mbarushimana is also the Secretary General of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDRL) - a rebel force operating in eastern DR Congo made up of former members of the Rwandan army and Interahamwe militia who spearheaded the Genocide.

"They arrested him in reaction to an Interpol Red Notice which was issued after we sent an amended indictment with clear evidence of his role in the Genocide," said John Bosco Mutangana, the spokesperson at the Office of the Prosecutor.

Mbarushimana, a former employee of the United Nations Development Programme, (UNDP) is the second fugitive to be arrested in Germany following that of Onesphore Rwabukumba who was arrested in April.

According to the indictment which was seen by The New Times, Mbarushimana is accused of, among other crimes, having organised the massacre of many former employees of the UNDP.

"On top of that, he logistically supported the militiamen to go and kill in different suburbs in Kigali especially by giving them UN vehicles and fuel," said Mutangana, who also heads the government's Genocide Fugitives Tracking Unit (GFTU).

After the evacuation of expatriates who were working with UNDP during the Genocide, Mbarushimana was made the acting head of mission, a position he used to support the killings.

He faces charges of Genocide, complicity in Genocide, conspiracy to murder, creation of and association with a criminal gang.

"We are happy with the move; it shows that the efforts by the unit are being rewarded. Countries appreciate the quality of our work and are convinced of the evidence we give them on the roles played by these fugitives in the Genocide," said Mutangana who is also a prosecutor.

Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama also welcomed the move, saying it sends a signal to the rest of the fugitives.

"It will show others that the long arm of justice will eventually get to them this man is not only a runaway fugitive but also a top leader in the FDRL," said Karugarama, who also doubles as the Attorney General.

"This is a very welcome development. This man has used his privileged position to evade justice and propagate the genocide ideology," he said.

Mbarushimana was first arrested in 2001 when he was working with the UN mission in Kosovo and was subsequently sacked as an employee of the UN.

Nonetheless, despite accounts from different witnesses, his former employers failed to bring him to justice, especially after Rwanda had requested for his trial.

Instead, the United Nations Administrative Tribunal awarded him compensation of up to 13 months in back pay after he petitioned the body that he had been sacked illegally.

Several fugitives have been apprehended in various European countries, most of whom having been arrested in France but extraditing them remains a hurdle as Rwanda does not have extradition treaties with them.

However, special arrangements have been negotiated and recently, a UK court ordered for the extration of four suspects who have been in detention for almost two years to come and face justice beck home.

Also former businessman Claver Kamana who was arrested earlier this year in France faces extradition following a court order.

Despite the efforts from the western countries however, several indictments were sent in various African states but not a single fugitive has has bee apprehended.

Most of these indicted fugitives are in Southern African states, that include Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Copyright © 2008 The New Times. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.