Arusha, January 18, 2011 (FH) - German judiciary opened on Tuesday in Frankfurt its first trial related to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

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According to the AFP, Onesphore Rwabukombe, 54, former mayor of Muvumba (East of Rwanda) and a longtime refuge in Germany, is charged with "ordering and coordinating three massacres" committed between 1990 and 1994. At least 3,730 Tutsis who had sought refuge into churches were killed in these slaughters.

Germany falls in behind Belgium, where Rwandans have already been tried for their alleged participation into the genocide.

Rwabukombe was arrested in Germany in 2008 following an international arrest warrant issued by Rwanda. However, the German judiciary rejected Rwanda's request to extradite the suspect, on grounds that a fair trial could not be guaranteed in Kigali.

The suspect was then released but soon he was rearrested on charges brought against him by the German judiciary itself.

Forty-two hearings are expected to take place before Frankfurt's tribunal until next October, but the trial could last longer, AFP reported.

According to Rwanda, Rwabukombe "played an active role in the arrest of so-called RPF accomplice in Byumba in 1990". He is also charged alongside former mayor Jean-Baptiste Gatete for massacres of Tutsis committed in Murambi and Nyarubuye in 1994.

Jean-Baptiste Gatete is currently in the UN detention facility in Arusha, waiting for his judgement to be handed down by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.


© Hirondelle News Agency