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Rwanda seeks arrest of genocide suspect living in France

August 26, 2020

Rwandan prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for a former official suspected of being among the architects of the country's genocide. Aloys Ntiwiragabo was recently found living in Orleans, south of Paris.

An old image of Aloys Ntiwiragabo, on the smartphone of a Rwandan man reading the news on French outlet TV5. August 26, 2020.
Image: Getty Images/AFP

Prosecutors in Rwanda on Wednesday issued an arrest warrant for top spy chief Aloys Ntiwiragabo who is under investigation for his part in the country's 1994 genocide.

A team from French investigative news site Mediapart found the 72-year-old living in Orelans, about 110 kilometers (70 miles) south-southwest of Paris.

"We have issued an international arrest warrant against Aloys Ntiwiragabo, the genocide suspect. We have investigated his case and we are working with the French unit in charge of combating war crimes and crimes against humanity," Prosecutor General Aimable Havugiyaremye told a press conference.

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France opened a probe into alleged crimes against humanity by Ntiwiragabo after his whereabouts were revealed.

The now defunct International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) had previously identified Ntiwiragabo as one of the chief orchestrators of the Rwanda genocide, which claimed some 800,000 lives.

Rwanda, France, the ICTR and Interpol had all given up on seeking the arrest of Ntiwiragabo, having dropped warrants against him years ago.

The developments come some two months after the arrest on the outskirts of Paris of another suspect, Felicien Kabuga,  who is alleged to have financed the genocide.

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In June, a court approved the handover of Kabuga to the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals. From there, he could be sent for trial at the ICTR's Tanzania-based successor institution. An appeal hearing is slated for September 2.

France has long been a favorite hiding place for suspects from the genocide in francophone Rwanda.

The killing spree that claimed the lives of both ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus was unleashed after a plane carrying Rwandan President Juvenal Habarimana was shot down in April 1994.

rc/msh (AFP, Lusa)