Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 3 August 2020

Second Rwanda war crimes suspect, Aloys Ntiwiragabo, found in France

Aloys Ntiwiragabo was a spy chief in Rwanda and alleged architect of the 1994 genocide

Skulls of the victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide are on display at the Nyamata church near Kigali. AP
Skulls of the victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide are on display at the Nyamata church near Kigali. AP

France has opened an investigation after a former Rwandan spy chief, wanted for alleged crimes against humanity, was found in France by an investigative news organisation.

Aloys Ntiwiragabo was tracked down by Mediapart to Orleans, a city about 100km south-west of Paris, after the international agencies failed to find him.

Ntiwiragabo is a former Rwandan military official, identified by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) as one of the architects of the country's 1994 genocide which claimed 800,000 lives.

Neither the ICTR, Interpol, France nor Rwanda were actively seeking him and had dropped arrest warrants years ago.

On Saturday, a new preliminary investigation was opened after Ntiwiragabo, the alleged head of Rwanda’s naval intelligence during the genocide, was found hiding in the suburbs of Orleans, antiterrorism prosecutors told AFP.

He is the second high-profile Rwanda genocide suspect found in France after Felicien Kabuga, was arrested on the fringes of Paris in May.

Kabuga, who evaded police in several countries for 25 years, is accused of financing the genocide.

He had asked for a trial in France, citing frail health and claiming the United Nations court in Africa would be biased against him, and possibly hand him over to Rwandan authorities. His appeal was dismissed.

He faces seven counts of genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, among others, all in relation to crimes committed during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

He was co-founder and chairman of Fonds de Defense Nationale, which prosecutors allege he used to funnel funds to the interim Rwandan government to pay for the genocide.

France has long been considered a hiding place for wanted Rwanda genocide suspects and French investigators currently have dozens of open cases.

A plane carrying President Juvenal Habyarimana, from Rwanda's Hutu majority, was shot down in Kigali on April 6, 1994, unleashing the killing spree that would leave mainly Tutsis but also moderate Hutus dead.

Updated: July 25, 2020 10:35 PM

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