Arusha, June, 21, 2001 (FH) - Two former Rwandan mayors suspected of genocide were on Wednesday arrested at a refugee camp in Tanzania, at the request of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). One of them, Sylvestre Gacumbitsi, has already been transferred to the UN detention facility (UNDF) in Arusha.

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Gacumbitsi was mayor of Rusumo commune in the eastern Rwandan region of Kibungo at the time of the genocide. Informed sources say he was arrested in Mukugwa refugee camp in the northern Tanzanian region of Kigoma, along with former mayor of Rukara commune (also in Kibungo region) Jean MpambaraAt the time of the arrest, the ICTR Prosecutor did not have an indictment for Mpambara ready, and therefore requested Tanzanian police to hold him in Kigoma pending an order for provisional detention from the ICTR. The ICTR Statute provides for provisional detention of suspects under investigation, provided a judge is satisfied that this is warranted. The period of provisional detention is 30 days, but can be extended on request to a maximum of two more thirty-day periods. Gacumbitsi and Mpambara allegedly authorized and presided over killings of Tutsis in their communes during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Gacumbitsi is alleged to have been responsible for the killing of an estimated 20,000 Tutsis who had taken refuge in Nyarubuye Catholic church in Rusumo. The church has been turned into a genocide memorial. GG/JC/PHD/FH (AR0621E)