Arusha, 8 2008 (FH) -A former Rwandan cabinet minister wanted for war crimes committed during the 1994 genocide in the African state has been transferred to Arusha, Tanzania, after a prolonged about one-year legal battle in Germany.

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The former Planning Minister, Augustin Ngirabatware, 50, is suspected of encouraging the mass murder of members of Rwanda's Tutsi minority by arming the Hutu majority, had resisted the transfer and had appealed against his arrest in Frankfurt. He was arrested in September, last year.

"The accused was flown directly from Germany this morning...he will soon make an initial appearance in the next few days," Roland Amoussouga, Spokesman of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), told Hirondelle Agency.

He said Trial Chamber II presided by Judge William Sekule has been assigned for a pre-trial of the accused.

Ngirabatware served as Rwanda's planning minister for the four years leading up to the genocide and has since then lived in Gabon and in France for long periods.

He is the son-in-law of most wanted fugitive Felicien Kabuga, who has also been named by the ICTR as a genocide suspect. Kabuga, a wealthy businessman, is alleged to have financed the genocide and suspected to be hiding in Kenya.

At present 57 detainees are held at the Special United Nations Detention Facility (UNDF) -- 28 of them are on trial and eight are still waiting for their trials to start.

According to the United Nations estimates, about 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in the April-July 1994 slaughter.

The ICTR was set up by the United Nations Security Council in the aftermath of the genocide to try the key architects of the killings. So far, the Tribunal has delivered 36 judgements, including five acquittals.


© Hirondelle News Agency