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Ex-minister in Rwanda arrested and brought before UN genocide tribunal

Ex-minister in Rwanda arrested and brought before UN genocide tribunal

A former Rwandan government official has been arrested and handed over to the United Nations war crimes tribunal set up to deal with the genocide to face trial over his alleged role in the mass killings that engulfed the small African country in 1994.

Callixte Nzabonimana, who served as minister of youth and sports in Rwanda’s interim government in 1994, was arrested yesterday in the Tanzanian town of Kigoma and transferred today to Arusha, site of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). He is soon expected to make an initial appearance before a judge at the ICTR.

Mr. Nzabonimana, 55, is facing six charges, including counts of genocide, making direct and public incitements to commit genocide, and conspiracy to commit genocide.

The indictment against the former minister said he conspired with others to devise a plan to exterminate Rwanda’s civilian Tutsi population and eliminate members of the political opposition.

Mr. Nzabonimana, a former member of the Mouvement Républicain National pour le Développement et la Démocratie (MNRD), is jointly charged with six others: Augustin Bizimana, Edouard Karemera, Andre Rwamakuba, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, Joseph Nzirorera and Felicien Kabuga.

The Security Council set up the ICTR in 1994 in the wake of that year’s genocide, during which some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered – mostly by machete or club – in just 100 days starting in early April.