Former Rwanda army officer suspected of genocide arrested in the Netherlands

A 65-year-old Rwandan man living in Ermelo was arrested on Wednesday. Authorities in Rwanda suspect the former army officer of having been involved in the genocide that took place in that country in 1994, the Public Prosecution Service (OM) reported.

The man has been living in the Netherlands since 1998, and lost his appeal against the withdrawal of his Dutch citizenship in a ruling made by the Council of State on Wednesday. He was brought before the examining magistrate at the court in The Hague on Friday, who remanded the suspect into custody. Rwanda was given 20 days to submit an extradition request.

According to the Rwandan authorities, the man was instrumental in massacres in the capital, Kigali, and in the municipality of Mugina. He was an officer of the gendarmerie in Rwanda in 1994. Several aspects of the genocide there took place in April of that year. An estimated 30,000 Tutsi civilians were killed in the massacre at a parish in Mugina, which is commemorated annually.

Rwandan authorities believe the former army officer was closely involved in the planning and execution of the massacres in Mugina, according to the OM. “For example, he is said to have supplied weapons to militias that killed Tutsi refugees. The man and accomplices allegedly led about eighty Tutsi civilians who managed to escape the massacres in the parish to a house that was subsequently set on fire. The man is said to have supplied the fuel. Eyewitnesses have reported this.”

The man is also said to have led a rally prior to the massacres calling for attacking and killing Tutsi civilians. He is also accused of having participated in the murder of the mayor of Mugina.

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