KIGALI - Four officers of the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) were Wednesday arrested in connection with the deaths of clergymen at Kabgayi diocèse during the 1994 Genocide. A statement from the RDF headquarters states that those arrested include a Brigadier General, a Major and two captains. This comes in the wake of assurances given by Rwanda’s Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga, to the UN Security Council last week that some army officers would soon be indicted for the crime.
“Following the joint investigations between Rwanda’s Prosecution authorities and the Office of the Prosecutor General of the ICTR, on the suspects and circumstances behind the killings of members of the Catholic clergy on 5 June 1994 in Kabgayi (Muhanga District), the Military Prosecution authorities have today (11 June 2008) ordered and effected arrest of four suspects: Brig Gen Wilson Gumisiriza, Maj. Wilson Ukwishaka, Capt. John Butera and Capt. (Rtd) Dieudonné Rukeba,” read a statement by RDF spokesman, Maj. Jill Rutaremara.
It continued that the four suspects would appear in court soon. At the time the crime was committed, The Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) had explained the circumstances of the deaths to the media.
They explained that the soldiers who killed the clergymen, including the former Archbishop of Kigali, Vincent Nsengiyumva, had done so in a fit of anger and desperation.
The suspects, who originally joined the RPA from within Rwanda, arrived to find all members of their families who had taken refuge at Kabgayi had been killed, consequently they vented their anger on the clergymen.
The arrested officers were indicted on the basis of “command responsibility”.
In his report to the UN Security Council last week, the Prosecutor of the ICTR, Hassan Bubucar Jallow, revealed that: “Rwanda has collaborated with us in this process as requested by the Council in its Resolution 1503 (2003). We have together been able to establish a prima facie case that on 5th June 1994 RPF soldiers killed some thirteen clergymen, including five Bishops and two other civilians at the Kabgayi Parish in Gitarama. Some of the perpetrators of this crime are reported to have died whilst others are now serving within the Rwanda Army. Following inquiries the Rwanda Prosecutor General has communicated to me his decision to shortly indict and prosecute four serving senior military officers of the Rwandan Army with murder and complicity to murder … in connection with this incident.”
The Military prosecution has since 1994, prosecuted 43 war crimes and revenge crimes committed after the 1994 Liberation War.