Authorities in Germany are holding a Rwandan Genocide fugitive previously thought to be holed up in the southwestern Pacific Ocean nation of New Zealand.
National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) spokesperson Faustin Nkusi confirmed that the arrest of Enock Ruhigira took place at Frankfurt airport on July 20.
“We received the official information on July 22 from Interpol,” Nkusi said. “We are now preparing official extradition documents to be submitted in Germany to the General Prosecutor’s Office by October, 19.”
Ruhigira, 65, who is said to have acquired New Zealand nationality, is wanted in Rwanda for genocide and crimes against humanity charges.
During the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the man whose indictment was sent to New Zealand in 2007 worked in the Office of the President as the director of cabinet.
Earlier this month, the NPPA released names of two Genocide fugitives, including Ruhigira, it believed are holed up in New Zealand.
The other fugitive is Eugene Uwimana, a former lecturer at the National University of Rwanda, whose indictment was sent in 2004.
At the time, Nkusi said that “they are all charged with genocide and crimes against humanity.”
Last month, The Dominion Post, a newspaper in Willington, the capital of New Zealand, reported that a Rwandan living there and suspected of being involved in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, was trying to secure confidentiality for witnesses in his defence.
The man, whom the paper could not identify, denied the allegations, and said his immigration approval should not be cancelled.
The newspaper reported that there hadbeen no attempt to extradite or deport the suspect, but he had been told that his status was being reconsidered.
According to The Dominion Post, the Court of Appeal in Wellington, heard that, as part of that reconsideration, he wantedNew Zealand authorities to see the 35 witness statements he had.
The man’s lawyer, Grant Illingworth, QC, was quoted saying that nearly 20 of those witnesses gave statements on condition that they should not be revealed to Rwandan authorities.
The suspect reportedly sought an undertaking from New Zealand immigration authorities that they do not disclose the confidential statements but the court reserved its decision on how the statements should be treated.
Meanwhile, NPPA is carrying on with investigations on the third suspect before an an indictment could be sent.
Previously, the Head of the Genocide Fugitive Tracking Unit, John Bosco Siboyintore, told journalists that lack of political will in countries like France is one of the reasons the arrest of high profile fugitives remains difficult.
Matters are worsened by the fact that suspects usually change names and address.
Difficult conditions of identifiers such as DNA profiles, fingerprints, photos, and others, as usually “demanded by Interpol in order to publish red notices against them,” also compound the difficulties in tracking fugitives, he said.
Since the creation of the tracking unit in 2007, about 605 indictments and international arrest warrants have been issued against Genocide suspects in 32 countries worldwide.
Eighteen Genocide fugitives have been since tried abroad, while 17 were convicted. Only one was acquitted.
A court in Germany city of Frankfurt last year convicted former mayor of Muvumba Commune Onesphore Rwabukombe to life in prison without parole on genocide charges after court determined that he participated in the massacre of hundreds of Tutsi in 1994.