A Rwandan fugitive sentenced in absentia for his role in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi ethnic group was detained Thursday in Kigali after being deported from the US.
Oswald Rurangwa was convicted by Rwanda’s traditional conflict resolution mechanism in 2007 for genocide and sentenced to 30 years.
Rurangwa, 59, lived in Kigali’s Gasabo district and was a primary school teacher and leader during the genocide.
He was charged with multiple crimes, including murder as a crime against humanity and complicity to commit genocide, according to Rwandan prosecutors.
Rurangwa headed the Interahamwe militia in the area, according to the prosecution.
Prosecutors commended US judicial authorities for the “deportations of genocide fugitives, continued cooperation in matters of mutual legal assistance, and contribution to the global effort to fight impunity.”
Prosecution spokesman Faustin Nkusi told reporters that Rurangwa was provided a lawyer who will assist him in case he intends to appeal his conviction.
Rwanda’s Genocide Fugitives Tracking Unit said more than 1,000 suspects have taken refuge in various countries including France, US, Netherlands and Canada.
Rwanda’s traditional Gacaca courts, which completed work in 2012, tried nearly 2 million suspects in 10 years.
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, set up in November 1994 in Tanzania, sentenced 61 people to life for their roles in the massacres. It also acquitted 14 people, while 10 others were referred to national courts.
Between April 7 and July 15, 1994, an estimated 1 million people, mainly from the Tutsi ethnic community and moderate Hutus, were killed in 100 days.