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Tribunal Receives Rwandan Genocide Suspect from DRC


The international tribunal for Rwandan genocide crimes has confirmed the Democratic Republic of Congo has transferred a key suspect to the Tanzanian-based court. The U.N.-created tribunal had been publicly criticizing the DRC government for refusing to quickly hand over the former fugitive.

A spokesperson for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Roland Ammoussouga, says the suspect is being held by the Tanzanian-based court.

"I can confirm to you that Mr. Gregoire Ndahimana is in custody of the ICTR," he said. "He has been transferred and he is currently in detention in Arusha."

Ndahimana, a former Rwandan mayor accused of orchestrating the killings of thousands of ethnic Tutsis, was captured by the Congolese army more than a month ago in the North Kivu province of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Earlier this month, a spokesperson for the international court threatened the DRC government that the delay in transferring the suspect might force it to raise the matter with the United Nations Security Council.

DRC Information Minister Lambert Mende, claimed the delay was due to the suspect's association with the rebel group based in Congolese territory.

"We retained Mr. Ndahimana more than one month because he was arrested while sitting in the ranks of the FDLR, killing our people. So we had to interrogate him first, we had to obtain from him some information that is crucial for our intelligence, our military," he said.

The ethnic Hutu militia group Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, known by its French initials FDLR, is composed largely of fugitives responsible for the 1994 massacre of hundreds of thousands of minority Tutsi in Rwanda.

The remnant group of Hutu rebels in eastern Congo has been a major destabilizing factor in the region's volatile recent history. Rwanda cited the continued presence of the rebels as a reason for supporting a rebel movement that eventually ended the rule of Mobuto Sese Seko, longtime dictator of then-Zaire.

In 1998, Rwanda invaded eastern Congo to begin what became a drawn out multinational conflict often described as humanity's deadliest since World War II.

Earlier this year, Rwanda and the DRC agreed to cooperate militarily to hunt down the FDLR, which has led to the restoration of full diplomatic ties between the two countries after years of icy relations.

Ndahimana was one of 12 remaining at-large suspects indicted by the international tribunal. Almost all of the 6,000 Tutsi living in his town are believed to have been killed during the 1994 ethnic cleansing.

Many of the remaining fugitives wanted for genocide crimes are believed to be similarly hiding within the FDLR militias.

The nationwide 1994 slaughter killed more than 800,000 most of whom of were Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

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