Rwandan war criminal held in Norway

2010-06-10 08:33

Oslo - A man wanted by Interpol for participating in the 1994 Rwandan genocide has been arrested in Norway, his Norwegian lawyer said on Wednesday.

Lars Moerk said his client, Charles Bandora, was arrested at Oslo's international airport on Tuesday while traveling on a fake Malawian passport.

Police prosecutor Anne Siv Aavitsland said airport police arrested and detained a man on suspicion of using fraudulent identification, but couldn't positively identify him as Bandora before investigating.

She said a judge will decide on Thursday if he can be kept in detention until police are sure of who he is.

The 57-year-old Rwandan is sought by Interpol for genocide, crimes against humanity and related offences, in relation to the 1994 genocide when extremist Hutus massacred hundreds of thousands of ethnic Tutsis.

The Rwandan government has accused Bandora of financing a main Hutu paramilitary group, ordering the killing of 400 Tutsis during the genocide and murdering two people, according to International Crisis Group, a nonprofit organization that monitors and analyzes conflicts worldwide.

Moerk said Bandora arrived in Oslo from Belgium, where he was declined asylum. The Belgian authorities claimed Bandora had traveled through Norway on his way to Brussels and should apply for asylum there, according to European asylum regulations.

Moerk said it was unclear where Bandora had been before coming to Europe. He said he expects Norwegian prosecutors to seek to extradite his client to Rwanda once they have confirmed his identity.