Germany charges Rwandan genocide suspect

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Federal prosecutors in Germany said on Wednesday that they had charged a former Rwandan mayor over his alleged involvement in the country's 1994 genocide.

Onesphore Rwabukombe, a 53-year-old ethnic Hutu, is accused of genocide, murder as well as incitement of genocide and murder, prosecutors said in a statement.

Rwabukombe, the former mayor of a town in northern Rwanda, was arrested by German authorities last month. The charges were filed with a court in Frankfurt on July 29.

The Rwanda government accuses him of involvement in the systematic killing campaign in 1994 which left an estimated 800,000 dead, most of them Tutsis.

German prosecutors said in a statement that Rwabukombe allegedly called on three occasions in the first half of April 1994 for a pogrom against the Tutsis, with the result that a "countless" number of people were murdered.

"Between April 11 and 15, 1994 the accused ordered and coordinated three massacres in which a total of at least 3,730 members of the Tutsi minority were killed who had sought refuge in church buildings," prosecutors said.

He is also accused of ordering a lower-ranking local official to turn away Tutsi refugees seeking shelter at his home, threatening otherwise to have his family killed. At least one of these refugees was subsequently killed.

It was the third time he had been arrested in Germany. A Frankfurt court ordered his release in November 2008 after four months in custody and he was again set free in May 2009 after five months because of lack of evidence.

A new German warrant was issued on July 21 following an investigation by the federal prosecutor.

© 2010 AFP

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