Arusha, 20 September 2007 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) announced Thursday in Arusha, Tanzania the arrest Monday in Germany of the former Minister of Planning during the 1994 genocide, Augustin Ngirabatware.

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The spokesperson of the tribunal, Roland Amoussouga, indicated during a press conference that the former minister had been arrested on 17 September (Monday) in Frankfurt. He specified that this arrest was made possible due to the co-operation between the ICTR tracking team, the German police and Interpol.

The ICTR "started diplomatic procedures yesterday (Wednesday)" with the German authorities for the transfer of the accused to the United Nations tribunal.

Even if the closing date of the ICTR is approaching, it is out of the question, considering the importance of his alleged role, to transfer Ngirabatware to a national court, affirmed, Timothy Gallimore, spokesperson for the office of the prosecutor.

To finish the first instance trials in 2008 as required by the Security Council, the ICTR is constrained to transfer certain cases to national courts.

Ngirabatware, also the son-in-law of the billionaire Félicien Kabuga, the alleged financier of the 1994 genocide, was arrested on an arrest warrant from the ICTR dated 8 November 2001. Felicien Kabuga is the ICTR's most wanted person, it suspects neighbouring Kenya of hosting him.

According to the arrest warrant issued against Ngirabatware, the former minister who came from the ranks of the then presidential party, the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND), is accused of making an agreement in order to commit genocide. Genocide, complicity to genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes

This arrest warrant, signed by the Senegalese Judge Andrésia Vaz, indicates that the indictment against Ngirabatware was confirmed on 1 October 1999. It has, however, not been made public and was described as "problematic" by the spokesperson for the prosecutor.

Doctor in economic sciences from the University of Freiburg (Switzerland), Ngirabatware was a professor at the National University of Rwanda (1986-1994), Minister for Planning (1990-1994) and director of the Graduate Institute of Economy and Management (1996-1998) in Gabon.

In a book published last year, Rwanda: le faîte du mensonge et de l'injustice (Rwanda: The Apogee of Lies and Injustice), he affirms that the ICTR "was set up by the UN on false pretences" and "cannot bring justice".

© Hirondelle News Agency