Rwandan on run from UN war crimes tribunal arrested in France

18 October 2007 –

French authorities have arrested a Rwandan national and former public official who had been on the run from the United Nations war crimes tribunal set up after the 1994 genocide in the African country.

Dominique Ntawukuriryayo, who faces charges over a notorious massacre in which up to 25,000 Tutsis were killed over a five-day period, was detained earlier this week by French police in the town of Carcassonne, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters today.

She said he is expected to be transferred to Paris and then into the custody of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in the next few days.

Mr. Ntawukuriryayo – who was a sub-prefect of Gisagara in the southern Rwandan province of Butare in 1994 – faces three charges: genocide, complicity in genocide, and directly inciting the public to carry out the genocide.

The indictment against him focuses on several acts, including a massacre at Kabuye hill in late April 1994, when the sub-prefect is alleged to have ordered many thousand Tutsis who had gathered at Gisagara market to move to the nearby hill, where he promised they would be protected and fed. Those who did not agree to go to the hill were chased and forced to do so.

The indictment then alleges that gendarmes and communal policemen soon surrounded Kabuye hill and started shooting at the Tutsis, killing most, and that Mr. Ntawukuriryayo personally rounded up some gendarmes to carry out the killings and collected the necessary ammunition to use in the attacks. In total, as many as 25,000 people were killed at Kabuye hill between 21 April and 25 April 1994.

Some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered, mostly by machete or club, across Rwanda in less than 100 days starting in early April 1994. Later that year the Security Council established the ICTR to deal with the worst cases.

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