Genocide suspect Ntaganzwa extradited from DR Congo

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Rwanda National Police officers attached to the National Public Prosecution of Rwanda take custody of Ntangazwa at Kigali International Airport yesterday. (Courtesy.)

Genocide suspect Ladislas Ntaganzwa was yesterday noon handed over to the National Public Prosecution of Rwanda (NPPA) following his arrest last year in DR Congo.

Clad in black jeans, a bright-coloured shirt and white shoes, Ntaganzwa was delivered at Kigali International Airport at around 11am aboard a UN aircraft and was shortly after handed over to prosecution.

Ntaganzwa is one of the accused architects of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in which more than a million Rwandans were killed.

He was handed over to Rwandan authorities by officials from the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), the authority that took over from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Jean Bosco Siboyintore, the head of Genocide Fugitives Tracking Unit at NPPA, said the prosecution is pleased with the extradition, adding that the suspect was one of the last fugitives indicted by the ICTR.

Ntangazwa was arrested in DR Congo on December 9, last year.

In 2012, ICTR, as part of its completion strategy, decided to hand to Rwandan prosecution case files of six of the nine major suspects who remained at large.

These include Ladislas Ntaganzwa, Fulgence Kayishema, Charles Sikubwayo, Aloys Ndimbati, Ryandikayo and Pheneas Munyarugarama.

Ntaganzwa is the former Bourgoumester (mayor) of Nyakizu Commune, in former Butare Prefecture, where as senior member and former chairman of MDR of Nyakizu commune committed genocide.

“He is accused of participating in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, extermination, murder and rape as crimes against humanity,” Siboyintore said.

He said the extradition process had delayed because DR Congo had at first refused to transfer the suspect but this was eventually achieved through working with the mechanism.

The Kinshasa government agreed to transfer the suspect on March 3.

Ntangazwa is expected to be prosecuted at the Specialised Chamber for International Crimes at the High Court, which specifically tries suspects extradited to Rwanda from foreign countries.

“We will continue pursuing the remaining fugitives to ensure they get their day in court,” said Siboyintore.

Ntaganzwa is among the suspects on the US State Department Reward for Justice Programme and he had a $5 million bounty on his head.

He becomes the third person to be transferred to Rwanda from the ICTR, after Jean Uwinkindi – whose trial concluded last year with a life sentence against him – and Bernard Munyagishari, whose trial is currently ongoing.

Besides the six suspects whose indictments were handed to Rwanda by the tribunal, the three other suspects, dubbed the ‘Big Fish’ include notorious businessman Felicien Kabuga, said to have been be the financier of the Genocide.

The other two are Augustin Bizimana, the minister for defence in the genocidal government, and Protais Mpiranya, who commanded the notorious presidential guard, an elite outfit that is responsible for thousands of killings, especially in Kigali.

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