Conflicts & War

UN Prosecutor: Remains of Rwandan genocide fugitive found in DRC grave

The Hague, May 22 (efe-epa).- The remains of a major fugitive suspect of the 1994 Rwandan genocide have been found in a grave in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) said in a statement on Friday.

Chief Prosecutor for the IRMCT Serge Brammertz said the remains belonged to former Defence Minister Augustin Bizimana.

“Bizimana was alleged to be responsible for the murders of former Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and 10 Belgian United Nations peacekeepers, and for the murder of Tutsi civilians,” Brammertz said.

DNA samples were collected late last year from a tomb in Pointe Noire, southwest DRC.

The IRMCT Prosecutor’s Office made a comparative analysis using cutting edge technology to rule out that the remains belonged to someone else.

Additional data was verified by the investigating team which concluded that Bizimana died in August 2000 in Pointe Noire, Brammertz continued.

The prosecutor thanked the Netherlands Forensic Institute and the United States Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory “for their critical technical support and assistance in this matter.”

Bizimana served as Minister of Defense between July 1993 and July 1994 and, according to the indictment, he urged members of the Rwandan Armed Forces and Hutu militias, including the Interahamwe and Impuzamugambi, to commit crimes.

IRMCT, which examines war crimes cases for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, a mechanism created by the United Nations Security Council, accused him in 1998 with 13 counts of genocide, complicity in genocide, extermination, murder, rape, torture, other inhuman acts, persecution, cruel treatment and outrages upon personal dignity.

All crimes were allegedly committed between 6 April and 17 July in 1994.

The confirmation of Bizimana’s death comes a week after the arrest of businessman Félicien Kabuga in France on 16 May.

Kabuga will stand trial in the Netherlands for his role in financing the genocide.

According to the IRMCT’s Prosecutor’s Office, Kabuga allegedly played a key role in financing the genocide of hundreds of thousands of minority Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994.

Ethnic Hutu extremists killed at least 800,000 members of the Tutsi community and political opponents.

“Kabuga was indicted by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1997 on seven counts of genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, attempt to commit genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, persecution and extermination, all in relation to crimes committed during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda,” the IRMCT said.

With Kabuga’s arrest and the confirmation of Bizimana’s remains, the IRMCT’s Prosecutor’s Office has now accounted for two of the three major fugitives indicted by the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the body said.

Only Protais Mpiranya, former commander of the Presidential Guard of the Rwandan Armed Forces, remains at large and the IRMCT continues an active pursuit of the soldier alleged to have been a key player in the Rwanda genocide. EFE-EPA


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