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UN tribunal sends Rwandan prisoner to Netherlands for security

UN tribunal sends Rwandan prisoner to Netherlands for security

A former senior Rwandan official, who was accused of taking part in the 1994 genocide of hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and moderate Hutus and who surrendered earlier this week, has been transferred temporarily to the Dutch capital for security reasons, the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) said today.

The former director-general of the institution controlling Rwanda’s tea industry, Michel Bagaragaza, was transferred yesterday to the Detention Unit of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague under orders issued by Judge Arlette Ramaroson last Saturday, ICTR said in Arusha, Tanzania.

“The ICTR Prosecutor requested the Tribunal to grant the transfer, which was a condition of Bagaragaza’s voluntary surrender, rather than at the UN Detention Facility in Arusha because of concerns for Bagaragaza’s security in light of his voluntary surrender to the Tribunal. The order permits the accused to remain in detention at ICTY for six months, renewable for one further six-month period,” it said.

Mr. Bagaragaza allegedly ordered his subordinates and instigated and abetted others to kill hundreds of Tutsi civilians who sought refuge on Kesho Hill and in Nyundo Cathedral, both in Gisenyi Prefecture, the area where he was born.

“The indictment of Michel Bagaragaza resulted from our investigation of the ‘Akazu,’ the group around the former Rwandan President which exercised great power in business and government in the years leading up to 1994,” ICTR Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow said earlier this week.

Mr. Bagaragaza has pleaded not guilty.

Former Rwandan Prime Minister Jean Kambanda was similarly transferred to The Hague for detention. He later pleaded guilty and was condemned to life imprisonment.