The Zimbabwean government has finally moved to honour an arrest warrant against Protais Mpiranya, a top Genocide suspect believed to be hiding in the country’s capital, Harare.
The development follows sustained pressure from the international community asking Zimbabwe to arrest and hand over Mpiranya to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, (ICTR).
The Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga, welcomed the move saying that it is a sign of good cooperation between Rwanda, Zimbabwe and the ICTR.
Mpiranya who commanded the notorious Presidential Guard during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, remains elusive despite a US$5-million bounty by the US government.
“The ICTR and Rwanda share the view that fugitive Mpiranya could be in Zimbabwe. It is therefore a welcome development that authorities are tracking him,” Ngoga said.
He added that; “What is most important however is for him to be arrested. We hope the search will lead to that.”
Addressing the media, Zimbabwean police officer, Innocent Chinembiri, said that a special CID taskforce was spearheading the chase.
“Anyone with information on Mpiranya should immediately contact the Criminal Investigations Department’s homicide section or their nearest police station,” Chinembiri announced.
It has over the years been reported that Mpiranya enjoyed protection from some senior officials within the Zimbabwean ruling ZANU-PF party who shielded him from the long arm of justice.
Mpiranya is accused of crimes against humanity, war crimes and conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide or alternatively, complicity in genocide.
He is also accused of distributing weapons to the militia with the intent to exterminate the Tutsi population.
It is said that on the morning of 7 April 1994, Mpiranya, a Major then, commanded a group of Presidential Guards which tracked down, arrested, sexually assaulted and assassinated former Prime Minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana.
In 1992, Mpiranya is alleged to have supervised the training of militiamen in the then prefectures of Ruhengeri, Cyangugu, Gisenyi, Butare and Mutara, particularly in the military camps in Gabiro, Gako, Mukamira and Bigogwe.
He is believed to have conspired in the murder of the President of the Constitutional Court, Joseph Kavaruganda; the Chairman of the PSD party and Minister of Agriculture Frederic Nzamurambaho; the Vice-Chairman of the PL party and Minister of Labour and Community Affairs, Landoald Ndasingwa; as well as a member of the Political Bureau of the MDR, the Minister of Information, Faustin Rucogoza.
He also ordered the Presidential Guards to kill 10 Belgian para-commandos who guarded the slain Prime Minister.