France, on Tuesday, extradited to Belgium, Fabien Neretse, alias Fabien Nsabimana – a Genocide fugitive who had a European arrest warrant issued by a Brussels judge, Jean Coumans.
He now becomes the fifth suspect to be taken to Belgian custody this year.
Neretse, 54, allegedly murdered a Belgo-Rwandan family, among others, in Kigali, during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
He allegedly allowed the killing of Belgian national, Claire Beckers, her husband, Isaïe Bucyana, and their daughter, Katia, as well as their neighbours.
Witnesses claim that it is Neretse, who alerted a soldier only identified as Lieutenant Soteri about the victims’ planned escape, and also witnessed the executions.
From 1989 to 1991, Neretse, the then boss of Ocir-Café in the former Ruhengeri Prefecture, was among the influential men in the Habyarimana regime.
Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga, said: “We note the development and will continue to extend the cooperation required. Belgium has outstandingly done a commendable job to bring fugitives of Genocide to justice”.
“We, together with our Belgian counterparts, realise that we still have a long way to go. Soon, we will announce plans we are considering to speed up investigations in European countries,” Ngoga said.
He added that they are discussing the plan with lawyers in Europe.
Alain Gauthier, president of Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda (CPCR), a Paris-based, organisation that lobbies the French justice system to prosecute Genocide suspects, said in an interview that they welcomes the decision to extradite Neretse to Belgium.
“We simply hope that the Belgian courts do due diligence and that Neretse is tried. That's all that matters to us,” Gauthier said.
It is the CPCR which traced Neretse to Angouleme, south-western France, under the assumed name of his father.
“To be quite honest, I do not think anyone had really wanted to look for him... after finding him, the CPCR then filed a new complaint in May 2008,” said Gauthier.
“Apart from Callixte Mbarushimana, who was extradited to the ICC, and Pascal Simbikangwa and Octavian Ngenzi who are incarcerated in Paris, all other genocide suspects in France are free”.