A Rwandan doctor working at a hospital in northern France is suspected of being a wanted war criminal, in a case that has puzzled French authorities.
Eugene Rwamucyo was suspended from his post at a hospital in the northern town of Maubeuge after a nurse did an Internet search for his name and found an Interpol arrest warrant linked to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, French media reported.
The arrest warrant, issued in 2006 on request from Rwanda, is still on the Interpol website and lists Rwamucyo’s offences as “genocide, war crimes”.
Rwamucyo said yesterday he was innocent, Reuters reports.
“I didn’t participate in the genocide, close up or from afar. There is nothing against me. I don’t see why the justice system wants to arrest me,” he told French television.
But he said he had attended meetings with people who took part in the genocide.
The Interpol notice is not an international arrest warrant, but a notice issued by Rwanda. The man has not been arrested so far, although Interpol said many of its member countries considered such a notice a valid request for detention.
Rwamucyo’s name also features on a list of more than a dozen suspected Rwandan war criminals living in France who are the object of a lawsuit by the Collective of Civil Plaintiffs for Rwanda, a victims’ rights association.
An estimated 800 000 ethnic Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were killed in Rwanda’s 100-day massacre.
“He was an ideologist, for us he’s one of the planners of the genocide of the Tutsis.
There are testimonies from people who knew him,” Alain Gauthier, the head of the collective, told French television.
Local authorities were scratching their heads over how a suspected war criminal came to secure a French work permit and a job at a hospital.
The town’s socialist mayor, Remi Paunos, said he was dumbfounded by the fact that a person wanted by Interpol could be granted a residency permit. Rwamucyo’s employers at the hospital expressed similar perplexity.
French prosecutors opened an investigation into Rwamucyo in 2008, but did not inform or summon him at any point. He was refused status as a political refugee but nevertheless obtained a residency permit.