PARIS - A 1994 Genocide fugitive has been arrested in France in response to a Red Notice issued by Interpol on the request of the Office of the Prosecutor General.
The arrest of ex-FAR’s Lt. Col. Marcel Bivugabagabo was confirmed yesterday by Spokesperson for the Prosecution, John Bosco Mutangana.
Bivugabagabo, a former senior officer in the genocidal ex-FAR force was arrested on Tuesday (January 8) in the French town of Toulouse, following an amended indictment by the prosecution.
“He has been on a Red Notice since 2002 but an amended indictment was sent last year and we believe it motivated the arrest,” Mutangana said yesterday.
Bivugabagabo was the director of military operations in the former prefectures of Ruhengeri and Gisenyi during the Genocide.
He is accused of six counts, among them, genocide, complicity to commit genocide, incitement to commit genocide and creation of a criminal gang.
The arrest of Bivugabagabo is the second on Rwanda’s request following Isaac Kamali’s apprehension last year. Kamali is still in detention in France after he was intercepted and deported while trying to enter the US from France.
During the Genocide, Bivugabagabo is accused of having masterminded the killings that took place at the Appeals Court of Ruhengeri (now Musanze High Court) and at Nyakinama University campus in the Northern Province.
“We have already submitted a request for extradition and we are ready to send any other documentation that will be asked of us by the French judiciary,” Mutangana, who also coordinates a national unit charged with tracking Genocide fugitives, said.
Kigali has welcomed the latest arrest with the Attorney General and Justice minister, Tharcisse Karugarama, describing it is a good sign in international cooperation.
“This is a man who masterminded killings of many innocent Rwandans and we shall follow with keen interest the procedures that will evolve after the arrest,” he said yesterday.
On a possible extradition to Rwanda, Karugarama said that it is always Rwanda’s prime interest for fugitives to be brought home for trial.
He however added: “But if he is prosecuted and duly convicted by any other country we shall appreciate.”
Besides Kamali and Bivugabagabo, two other key Genocide fugitives, Fr Wenceslas Munyeshyaka and Laurent Bucyibaruta, a former Prefet of Gikongoro, are in French custody.
Nonetheless, the two cannot be transferred to Rwanda because they were arrested on the request of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which takes precedence over any national jurisdiction.
The ICTR has since requested France to prosecute the two men itself. The genocide fugitives tracking unit, which is run by the office of the Prosecutor General has since its establishment, according to Mutangana, sent tens of arrest warrants to several European and African countries.
Last year, eight indictments were sent to Mozambique but Mutangana says that there has since been no response.
Another trial is on course in the United Kingdom which is studying the possible extradition of four genocidaires who were arrested there in December, 2006.