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Boy standing in front of a genocide exhibit containing hundreds of skulls
The 1994 genocide claimed over 800,000 livesImage: AP

Rwandan Arrested

DW staff (cat)
December 23, 2008

Federal prosecutors says a former mayor of a northern Rwandan town has been arrested a second time in Germany for his alleged involvement in the country's 1994 genocide.


The 51-year-old Hutu man, Onesphore Rwabukombe, was arrested in the Frankfurt area on Monday, one month after Rwanda's own attempts to obtain his extradition from Germany collapsed.

He is suspected of either overseeing or calling for multiple murders in both 1990 and 1994.

"In particular, he is accused of involvement in a massacre at Nyarubuye in mid-April 1994 in the course of which several thousand people were killed," said a statement in Karlsruhe, where the federal prosecutors are based.

Angela Merkel shaking hands with Rwandan president Paul Kagame
Relations between Berlin and Kigali have grown frostyImage: picture-alliance/ dpa

The prosecutors said the separate German inquiry began in March this year after Rwanda had requested his arrest in Germany. He was initially detained on April 23 in Frankfurt but released November 3 after German judges ruled against his extradition, citing a ruling by the International Tribunal on Rwanda which is based in the Tanzanian city of Arusha.

German law allows trials for crimes abroad provided the accused is a German resident or the victims are German.

Second arrest in as many months

Last month, a senior Tutsi politician, Rose Kabuye, was arrested on a French warrant after landing in Germany. Though she was later extradited to France, the arrest has strained ties between Kigali and Berlin.

Rwanda strongly condemned the move, arguing that Kabuye was on official state business and therefore merited diplomatic immunity. The country expelled the German ambassador and recalled its envoy from Berlin.

Kabuye was accused of being an accessory in the assassination of Hutu president Juvenal Habyarimana in 1994, an event that is blamed for triggering the genocide of 800,000 people.

Rose Kabuye and Madeline Albright walking through a Rwandan cemetery
Rose Kabuye, shown here in 1997 with Madeline Albright, was arrested last monthImage: AP

It has been debated whether Tutsi rebels shot down the plane or Hutu militants stage-managed the assassination as a provocation.

Kabuye's arrest has likewise worsened the relationship between Kigali and Paris. News reports in Paris Tuesday said she has been freed on bail and was allowed to fly home to Rwanda for Christmas, but is required to reappear before a judge in France on January 10.

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