Military officer linked to Rwandan genocide arrested in the Netherlands

A military officer linked to Rwandan genocide has been arrested in the Netherlands.
A military officer linked to Rwandan genocide has been arrested in the Netherlands.
James C Hooper, Getty Images
  • Pierre-Claver Karangwa was arrested by the Dutch police's International Crimes Team on Wednesday.
  • He is the second war crimes fugitive to be accounted for in the space of a week.
  • Charles Ntahontuye Ndereyehe, another Rwandan genocide figure, is believed to be hiding in the Netherlands.

Another former senior military officer implicated in the Rwandan genocide of 1994 has been accounted for. Major Pierre-Claver Karangwa, 65, was arrested, pending deportation from the Netherlands to Rwanda.

In a statement, the Netherlands Public Prosecution Service said Karangwa was arrested by the Dutch police's International Crimes Team on Wednesday.

His arrest comes a week after the remains of Protais Mpiranya, another wanted war criminal, were tracked down to a grave in Zimbabwe by a United Nations body which handles outstanding war crimes cases for Rwanda and Yugoslavia.

Karangwa has been in the Netherlands since 1998.

Repeated calls by Rwanda for him to be extradited had been made, but with no headway.

The prosecution service said:

The former army officer has been living in the Netherlands since 1998. Rwanda had requested his extradition on suspicion of involvement in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

Karangwa is wanted for his alleged role in the planning and execution of the killing of at least 30 000 civilians during the Mugina parish massacre. 

The most horrific of his alleged offences was setting fire to a house that gave refuge to 80 Tutsi people, who were fleeing the genocide.

The prosecution service said Karangwa was granted asylum status in 1999, and dual citizenship in 2002.

However, in 2013, the dual citizenship was revoked, but he appealed.

Almost a decade later, the court dismissed his appeal.

"On 11 May 2022, the Dutch Council of State dismissed the appeal against the revocation of his Dutch citizenship on its merits, thereby removing any impediment to his arrest and ultimate extradition to Rwanda," the prosecution service said.

"The Dutch Public Prosecutor takes the approach that investigation and prosecution of international crimes are to take place as much as possible in the country where the crimes were committed, as that is where the evidence is, where the participants in the criminal proceedings are knowledgeable of the language, culture and backgrounds of events, and where, in general, most of the victims and surviving relatives are located."

His arrest and imminent deportation could also trigger that of Charles Ntahontuye Ndereyehe, another central figure in the Rwandan genocide, who fled to the Netherlands in 1997 via the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ndereyehe was, in 2008, sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia. 

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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