28.04.08 - RWANDA/GENOCIDE - FORMER RWANDAN MAYOR ARRESTED IN GERMANY

Kigali, 28 April 2008 (FH) - Onesphore Rwabukombe, former Mayor of Muvumba commune, eastern Rwanda, was arrested in Germany last Thursday, according to Rwandan state radio.
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The former official had been in the Rwandan government’s wanted list, accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed between 1 October 1990 and 31 December 1994.

The radio quoted Jean Bosco Mutangana, spokesperson for prosecution, for the arrest.

Mr Rwabukombe was also accused of complicity with Jean Baptist Gatete, former Mayor of Murambi, in the massacres of ethnic Tutsis in Murambi and in the Parish of Nyarubuye.

Gatete has been indicted by the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the Prosecutor has already filed a motion to request his transfer to Kigali to stand a trial. The motion was yet to be heard by the Chamber.

However, According to a member of Gatete’s defence team questioned Monday in Arusha, Rwabukombe has not been mentioned in the indictment against Gatete.

Germany has no extradition agreement with Rwanda. However Mr Mutangana said that Germany had an obligation to either try him or extradite the accused because it has signed the international convention against genocide.

If Mr Rwabukombe was to be extradited to Rwanda, he would be tried by a Gacaca court, because according to the new law being revised, his status as a communal official places him in the second category of offenders.

The arrest comes just a week after the visit of the Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, to Germany.

During a press conference in Berlin, President Kagame, according to AFP, also denounced the presence on German territory of Ignace Murwanashyaka, leader of FDLR, an armed rebel group based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, accused of being composed of former members of the Rwandan army and interahamwe militiamen.

Wanted for crimes of genocide, Muwanashyaka was arrested on 7 April 2006, then released after being briefly detained in Mannheim.

Chancellor Angela Merkel responded that Germany was following the situation very closely in connection with Muwanashyaka. The latter, reported AFP, claimed was a student in Germany during the 1994 genocide.

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