Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Kagame denies Rwandan genocide mastermind died in Mali prison

Charles Habyarimana, a former deputy prime minister accused of trying to dismantle the Rwanda government, died on Saturday at a Mali prison, according to local sources. Charles Habyarimana, central African genocidaires accused in DR Congo refugee crisis Read more Habyarimana was serving a 40-year sentence for his role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the deadliest ever in a single African country. He was tried along

with his boss, the former deputy president Faustin Twagiramungu, on charges of masterminding the killings. Both men were found guilty by a UN-backed tribunal and sentenced to life imprisonment. Habyarimana and his widow, Biramulekema, accused the US, France and UN of having committed genocide. Habyarimana was a lifelong US citizen, but Biramulekema’s family and Rwandan officials say she was not an American citizen

and therefore ineligible for refugee status. She has been deported back to Rwanda, and if she is tried and convicted she could face life in prison. Until his death, Habyarimana – who was described by the UN prosecutor for Rwanda as the “eternal kingpin” behind the genocide – had been serving time in a prison in the capital, Bamako. Habyarimana has been isolated from his fellow inmates for more than two years after

the jail governor accused him of being a suicide risk and barred him from speaking to the media. “Habyarimana died during the night in a tragic car accident,” a source close to the family said on Sunday. “He was involved in a terrible car accident and although he was in grave condition, in the end he died.” Habyarimana’s death is likely to increase tensions between the Rwandan government and its western allies, many

of whom have opposed the deportation of Biramulekema. The UN tribunal, led by a Dutch judge, found that Hutu extremists, including President Paul Kagame, had orchestrated the genocide, deliberately targeting the Tutsi minority in a country that had just gained independence from Belgium in 1994. In his book, “My Lord, our God, I killed the Tutsi,” Hutu extremist Fred Rwigyema, whom the Rwandan government requested be

tried in absentia, recounts how he smuggled weapons into Rwanda with the help of Habyarimana, whose own government he was trying to dismantle. A survivor, Theogene Mbugiza, said Habyarimana was “horrible to live with”. “When we heard news of his death, this is the way I reacted. I burst into tears,” he said. “It’s wrong and a big shame. I never thought this could happen.”

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