Rwandan genocide suspect arrested in Uganda

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ugandan authorities have extradited one of the most wanted suspects from the 1994 genocide in Rwanda to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The suspect was captured Monday in Kampala following a tip-off.

The fugitive, Idelphose Nizeyimana, was flown on a chartered plane early Tuesday to Arusha, Tanzania, where the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), has its headquarters.

Nizeyimana was one of the men on the tribunal's most-wanted list, accused of helping ethnic Hutus organise the mass murder of ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda's Butare province in 1994.

The former army captain and intelligence officer was also accused of ordering the execution of the symbolic queen of the Tutsi tribe and Tutsi intellectuals. Nizeyimana was indicted by the ICTR nine years ago on five counts of genocide, complicity in and incitement to genocide and crimes against humanity.

ICTR spokesman Roland Amoussouga said that the Ugandan police, working with Interpol, arrested Nizeyimana after he crossed into Uganda from the Democratic Republic of the Congo using fake documents. "This is a very important development and the tribunal wishes to commend the Uganda, Interpol and the Ugandan government for this outstanding cooperation that they have displayed," he said.

Nizeyimana had been at large for fifteen years, reportedly hiding among Hutu rebels in the forests of eastern Congo Kinshasa. It is not clear why he went to Uganda. However, Ugandan police say he was arrested following a tip-off that he had been staying at a guesthouse in Kampala. The United States had offered a $5 million reward for information leading to Nizeyimana's arrest.

The ICTR was formed in late 1994 to prosecute key genocide suspects. Six people have been acquitted and 30 others have been found guilty or pleaded guilty to charges. 26 others are being tried and four suspects are currently awaiting trial. Many low-level suspects were tried in traditional village courts in Rwanda.

Ethnic Hutus had slaughtered as many as 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda during a three-month killing spree in 1994.