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Former Rwandan governor arrested on genocide charges: UN tribunal

Former Rwandan governor arrested on genocide charges: UN tribunal

A former governor in Rwanda has been arrested on genocide charges and transferred to a United Nations detention facility in Arusha, Tanzania, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) said today.

François Karera, former Prefect of Kigali-Rural prefecture, was arrested in Nairobi, Kenya, on 20 October, the UN Tribunal said in a statement issued from its Arusha headquarters.

In the indictment against him, Mr. Karera is charged with genocide and crimes against humanity, specifically extermination, or in the alternative, murder. According to the Tribunal, in one instance Mr. Karera is alleged to have instructed policemen under his authority not to kill the occupants of a specific household near his own residence because he wanted to see how long a Tutsi could survive without food or water. The occupants of the house were locked inside for over two months and several of them starved to death.

In Ntarama, a village in Kigali-Rural prefecture, the accused is alleged to have encouraged Tutsi refugees to take shelter within a parish compound and to have informed them that soldiers would be sent to protect them. Instead he organized and led a group of soldiers and Interahamwe in an attack on the refugees which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Tutsi civilians.

Mr. Karera was appointed Prefect of Kigali-Rural in April 1994 and served in that capacity until mid-July 1994. He had previously served as Deputy Governor in the same prefecture and as mayor of Nyarugenge commune in the Prefecture of Kigali-ville.

The court said that duty counsel would be appointed to assist Mr. Karera, who will make his initial appearance "shortly." The arrest brings to 52 the number of persons in the custody of the Tribunal.