Once again, a major fugitive suspect in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda has been dead for years. Army commander Phénéas Munyarugarama died of natural causes in early 2002 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This was announced by a special court in The Hague. He was charged with genocide and crimes against humanity.
Last week, another key suspect, Protais Mpiranya, also died years ago. Mpiranya died in 2006 in Harare, the Zimbabwean capital, where he had fled after the genocide.
In 1994, around 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by violent militias in Rwanda in 100 days. The movement was stopped by the Tutsi rebel movement Rwandan Patriotic Front, led by Paul Kagame, the current president of Rwanda.
At the request of the new government, the United Nations established the Rwanda Tribunal in 1994 to prosecute those implicated in the genocide. A total of 93 suspects have been charged. The ICTR completed its work in 2015, but by then not all suspects had been identified.
The so-called International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) deals with the outstanding cases. Now that Munyarugarama’s fate is known, the search for four fugitives is still ongoing. The main suspect at large at the moment is Fulgence Kayishema, IRMCT prosecutor Serge Brammertz said. He was last seen in South Africa.
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