French police arrest Rwandan genocide suspect

French police have arrested a former officer in the Rwandan army, Marcel Bivugabagabo, accused of taking part in the 1994 genocide, an association of legal plaintiffs said on Wednesday.

Bivugabagabo (53), who is on the list of war criminals wanted for trial by the Rwandan government, was arrested recently in the south-western city of Toulouse, said the association’s president, Alain Gauthier.

Rwanda maintains that nine genocide suspects are living in France, three of whom have been arrested since last year after a thaw in relations between Rwanda and France.

Bivugabagabo, who is not on the list of 14 suspects still wanted by the separate Tanzania-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, was commander of the Ruhengeri sector in western Rwanda from April to July 1994.

He is accused of taking part in the genocide in which 800 000 people, mainly Tutsis, were killed in Rwanda.

“We knew he was in France, along with several other military officials,” said Gauthier, adding that Bivugabagabo denied taking part in the genocide.

French police were acting on an international arrest warrant issued by Interpol, but Bivugabagabo is not for the time being facing charges in France.

Rwanda has established a list of 93 genocide suspects living abroad, with Bivugabagabo ranking as number 13.

France and Rwanda have moved to resume diplomatic ties following a rift over a French judge’s decision to issue arrest warrants targeting close aides to President Paul Kagame in November 2006. The Kagame aides were wanted over the assassination of president Juvenal Habyarimana, which sparked the genocide.—AFP

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