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Rwandan war crimes suspect arrested in Geneva

Over half a million people died in the Rwandan civil war in 1994

(Keystone Archive)

Police in Geneva have arrested a suspected Rwandan war criminal, accused of involvement in the murder of Tutsis during the civil war in 1994. Emmanuel Rukondo, a former army chaplain, was taken into custody at the Grange-Canal parish where he had been living.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda issued an arrest warrant for the suspect on Wednesday. The United Nations court has accused the Hutu priest of calling for the extermination of the Tutsi minority.

"He is accused of crimes in Kapgai", said on Thursday Kingsley Moghalu, a spokesman for the tribunal.

"He visited a seminary there and a school, where he was always escorted by soldiers and Interahamwe (militia) while allegedly hunting down Tutsi refugees and killing them", Moghalu said. "He ordered the killing of a Tutsi priest, who was a colleague, and participated in denunciation campaigns."

The Swiss justice ministry said the arrest warrant states he distributed lists with the names of Tutsis, facilitating the persecution, torture and murder of these people.

The federal justice authorities have agreed to transfer the suspect to the tribunal, located in Arusha, Tanzania. He can however appeal against the decision.

The Swiss military authorities, who are responsible for prosecuting war criminals, have had the man under surveillance since 1999.

An investigating judge confirmed the accusations against the 42-year-old Rwandan, who has been residing in Geneva for several years. The results of the investigation were turned over to the UN court.

This arrest is the third carried out by the Swiss authorities against suspected Rwandan war criminals. Two other men have been convicted of taking part in the genocide, one by the UN tribunal, the other by a Swiss military court.

Other suspects are under surveillance by the federal justice and police department.

Police in Belgium also acted on Thursday, arresting the former Rwandan finance minister Emmanuel Nbindabahizi on a warrant issued by the International Tribunal.

Between 500,000 and one million people were killed during the civil war in Rwanda.

swissinfo with agencies


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