Global Policy Forum

Arrested Rwanda Genocide Suspect to Stand Trial

July 20, 2004

A key Rwanda genocide suspect has been handed over to U.N. prosecutors, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) said late on Monday. Gaspard Kanyarukiga, 59, accused of a horrifying attack on a church in which 2,000 people died, was arrested in South Africa Saturday. Charges against him include genocide, complicity in genocide, and conspiracy to commit genocide.

Kanyarukiga was a businessman in Rwanda's capital Kigali during the 1994 genocide that saw 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus massacred by extremist Hutus in 100 days in the tiny central African state. He is accused of transporting police and militia known as Interahamwe to attack a church in which Tutsis had taken refuge. The attackers poured fuel through the roof and set the church ablaze then killed about 2,000 Tutsis using grenades and guns. Prosecutors say he held meetings with both religious and political leaders in which they conspired to kill Tutsi civilians.

The ICTR was established in 1995 to bring to justice the military and political masterminds behind the genocide. The tribunal, based in Tanzania's northern town of Arusha, has arrested 69 people for genocide-related crimes. It has indicted 81, convicted 20 and acquitted three. The court jailed former Rwandan finance minister, Emmanuel Ndindabahizi for life last week after he was found guilty of leading a campaign of extermination against civilian Tutsis in Kibuye in western Rwanda.

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