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Rights Group Praises France for Arresting Rwandan Genocide Suspects


The group African Rights is praising the arrests of two prominent Rwandan genocide suspects in France. It calls the decision by the French government “a gesture of respect to the victims and survivors of the 1994 genocide.”

Rakiya Omaar is director of African Rights. From Hargeisa in Somaliland, she spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about the arrests.

“We welcome the move. We have to say after all the years that we’ve been campaigning on the presence of Rwandese genocide suspects in France, we were surprised. It came as a very pleasant surprise. I think it is a very positive move,” she says. Omaar says she hopes France will investigate others in France, who allegedly took part in the genocide.

One of those arrested is Laurent Bucyibaruta, who was the governor of the region of Gikongoro.” Omaar says, “As the governor, he had overall responsibility for the genocide in Gikongoro, which started exceptionally early…. It’s one of the regions where really the Tutsis had been…almost virtually wiped out. He worked very closely with a range of military and civilian officials to plan the genocide in Gikongoro, to supervise it personally. He was himself at many of the genocide massacres,” she says.

The second suspect arrested in France is Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka. Omaar says he was “a Catholic priest in charge of one of the large parishes in Kigali…. His parish is one of the areas where the UN soldiers were trying to protect the refugees who were there…. He was also notorious for wearing flak jackets throughout the genocide and being armed with a pistol. He became known as the chaplain of the militia…. He was openly hostile to Tutsi refugees, literally putting them in the line of danger.”

She says the evidence against the two men is well documented and there are many witnesses. Omaar says there are still thousands of genocide suspects at large, many in Africa, but also in Europe and the United States.

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