Three men arrested on suspicion of participating in genocide in Rwanda

The three suspects were confused by “about forty witnesses”

Three men suspected of having taken part in the Rwandan genocide in 1994 were arrested and charged this week in Belgium, the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office told AFP on Saturday, confirming information from the weekly Le Vif / L’Express . “Two were arrested Tuesday in Brussels and one Wednesday in the province of Hainaut, in two different but very similar cases and all three charged with” serious breaches of humanitarian law “,” said Eric Van Duyse, spokesperson of the Federal Prosecutor’s Office. One of the three was placed under electronic surveillance, the other two jailed.

Without revealing any identity, the spokesperson assured that these suspects had been confused by “about forty witnesses” met in Rwanda in within the framework of the Belgian survey. “Four letters rogatory” allowed travel to Rwanda, he said. The possible referral of these suspects to a Belgian Assize Court “will be determined in the last instance on the basis of the file presented by the investigating judge and the prosecution”, according to Eric Van Duyse.

Already several convictions in Belgium

The massacres carried out at the instigation of the extremist Hutu regime in power in Rwanda left around 800,000 dead between April and July 1994, mainly among the Tutsi minority, but also among moderate Hutus, according to the report. UN. In Belgium, five trials have already taken place since 2001, leading to nine convictions, in connection with the Rwandan genocide.

In 2001, four Rwandans, from the region of Butare (south), including two Benedictine nuns , accused of having handed over to the Hutu militiamen several thousand refugees in their convent, had been sentenced to terms of 12 to 20 years in prison. Their trial was a world first for national civil justice outside Rwanda. Two Rwandan notables were then convicted in 2005 by the Belgian courts, then an ex-major in 2007, and in 2009, a Rwandan, nicknamed the “banker of the genocide”, was sentenced to 30 years of imprisonment.

In December 2019 in Brussels, Fabien Neretsé, a former senior Rwandan official, was convicted of the crime of genocide, for the first time in Belgium. His sentence to 25 years in prison became final in May with the rejection of his cassation appeal. The trial of two other suspects, whose cases had been separated from that of Fabien Neretsé, are in preparation.