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Priest, musician and minister arrested for genocide

Three persons accused of involvement in the 1994 Rwanda genocide have been arrested in different European countries today. Emmanuel Rukundo, a military chaplain, Simon Bikindi a popular musician and composer and Emmanuel Ndindabahizi, a former government minister, were arrested in Geneva, Switzerland, Leiden, the Netherlands and Verviers, Belgium respectively.

The registrar of the Tribunal, Mr. Adama Dieng praised the authorities of the three countries for their efficiency in executing the arrest warrants issued by the Tribunal and thanked them for their continued cooperation in ensuring that the mandate of the tribunal was fulfilled.

Rukundo, 42, was born in Kabgayi, Gitarama prefecture. During the events of 1994 he was a military chaplain at Ruhengeri and was later transferred to Kigali. The indictment against him contains four counts charging him with genocide, and murder and extermination as crimes against humanity. In particular he is said to have organised and participated in hunts for Tutsi priests and nuns in various seminaries and convents and to have identified them to soldiers and Interahamwe so that they would be killed.

Bikindi who was born in 1954 in Rwerere commune in Gisenyi Prefecture was a government official with highly placed political connections to the ruling MRND political party. He is accused, inter alia, with having collaborated with others, including Ferdinand Nahimana and Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, currently on trial in the “Media Case”, to launch the private radio station Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM). Songs composed and played by him were frequently aired on RTLM and were said to have extolled Hutu solidarity and characterized the Tutsi as enslavers of the Hutu.

Ndindabahizi was born in 1950 in Gitesi commune, Kibuye prefecture. He was Minister of finance in the interim Government of Rwanda from 8 April 1994until that Government fled Rwanda in mid-July 1994. The indictment includes four counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. Among many other allegations he is said to have led or directly participated in attacks upon civilians identified as Tutsi in Kibuye Prefecture by personally using or distributing weapons and by transporting attackers and weapons to attack sites.

The three suspects will be transferred to the UN Detention Facility in Arusha as soon as legal formalities in the three countries concerned have been completed.

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