Two Rwandan war crimes suspects arrested in Germany

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Two top Rwandan militia leaders suspected of war crimes committed in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo have been arrested by German police, prosecutors said.
Ignace Murwanashyaka, 46, the leader of Rwanda’s Hutu FLDR rebels, was seized in the western city of Karlsruhe on suspicion of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in eastern DR Congo between January 2008 and July this year.
  

His deputy Straton Musoni, 48, was arrested in Stuttgart on the same charges.
 

Federal prosecutors said the pair were suspected of “killing several hundred citizens, raping several women and pillaging and burning several villages” in eastern DR Congo as leaders of the FDLR – Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, a Rwanda rebel group on Congo soil with links to the Hutu extremists behind the 1994 genocide of their Tutsi compatriots.
 
The prosecutors said Muranashyaka has been the president of FDLR since 2001. Musoni has been the vice president since 2005.
 
German investigators are said to have been gathering evidence for the last year.
 
The FDLR fled neighbouring Rwanda after the 1994 genocide in which 800 000 people, mostly ethnic Tutsis, were slaughtered.  Its leaders are strongly suspected of taking part in the genocide and have been actively sought by Rwanda.  The movement is almost entirely composed of ethnic Hutus opposed to the government of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, which welcomed the arrests.
 
“The UN and the international community have realised there is no way they can stop what is happening in the DRC without dealing with those (FDLR) who are in Europe,” a Rwandan official told journalists in Kigali.
 
Kigali has long voiced concern over the FDLR’s use of Germany as a safe haven despite a UN Security Council resolution imposing travel and financial restrictions on the group’s leaders.
 
The FDLR, whose fighters are thought to number around 5000, has carried out a brutal campaign of murder, rape and pillage against civilians in eastern Congo despite a joint military operation by Kinshasa and Kigali to clear them out of the region.
 
In a report in May, UN experts concluded that Murwanashyaka was involved in co-ordinating FDLR operations from February this year.
 
Recently, the militants have been deliberately targeting civilians to punish them for their government’s decision to launch military operations against them, human rights groups said in a report last month.

They say that since the operations began in January, 1000 civilians have been killed, 7000 women raped, and more than 6000 homes have been razed to the ground.
 



Human Rights Watch said earlier this month that government soldiers had “deliberately killed” more than 500 civilians since March during operations against the FDLR.
 
The UN mission in DR Congo (MONUC) announced on November 2 that it was immediately withdrawing logistical support for Congolese army units linked to 62 killings.
 

Source: www.reuters.com  www.AFP.com and Radio Netherlands Worldwide