By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Three more people accused of involvement in the Rwanda genocide were arrested and charged in Belgium with serious abuse of human rights, the spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office said on Saturday.
The identities of the three suspects were proven by witness testimony gathered in Rwanda by an investigation carried out by Belgian authorities and one of the suspects was under electronic surveillance while the other two were in detention and all the three have been charged with serious human rights abuses.
According to a dossier compiled by the investigating magistrate, the prosecutor’s office will determine if the individuals will face trial.
Five trials of Rwandans accused of involvement in the genocide have been conducted by Belgium since 2001. As many as four trials were held that year with the suspects being handed prison sentences of up to 20 years for handing over Tutsis in their shelter to Hutu militants.
The news comes in the wake of approval by a French court to have Rwandan genocide suspect Félicien Kabuga transferred to the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) in the Tanzanian city of Arusha to face trial.
In addition, Rwandan prosecutors have filed a request to have “Hotel Rwanda” ‘hero’ Paul Rusesabagina jointly tried with 18 rebels.
He was denied bail last week and is to be remanded for 30 days ahead of the trial, whose date has not yet been announced.
The decision could dent his hopes of distancing himself from acts of the FLN rebel group, which claimed a spate of attacks against Rwanda in 2018.
Prosecutor-General Aimable Havugiyaremye said on Monday that the trials should be conducted jointly as the charges are similar.
“The prosecution intends to submit a joint indictment of the 16 fighters together with Paul Rusesabagina. The prosecution will also file a request with the court to merge this case together with the case of Calixte Nsabimana (aka Sankara) and Herman Nsengimana,” he said.
He added, “We believe all the 19 defendants should be tried together. This is a common practice known as the principle of connectivity of offences, which is provided for by our laws. This means that when a group of defendants is charged with the same crimes at the same time and the same place, it is in the interest of justice for the court to consider the cases together.”
Rwanda announced that it has in custody 16 FLN fighters, including several commanders suspected to have conducted attacks in southern Rwanda in 2018.
Those 16 include Colonel Felicien Nsanzubukire, whom the United Nations Security Council accused of trafficking in weapons, and Major-General Anastace Munyaneza.
Others are Jean Chretien Ndagijimana, son of the late FLN commander Wilson Irategeka, who was killed by Congolese soldiers last December.
The 1994 Rwanda genocide started after President Juvenal Habyarimana and his Burundian counterpart Cyprien Ntaryamira, both Hutus, were killed when their plane was shot down over Kigali. The attackers have never been identified. About 800,000 people, mostly Tutsis and moderate Hutus, were killed during the violence which spanned 100 days.