Serugendo, the long-awaited arrest

10 October 2005 by Thierry Cruvellier

The arrest in Gabon of a former leader of the Interahamwe militia Joseph Serugendo coincided with the resumption of the trial of three leaders of the former Rwandan presidential party, the MRND, at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The defendants are principaly accused of having founded and commanded the MRND youth militia, the Interahamwe.

On 19 September the UN tribunal based in Arusha officially reopened the trial of three former MRND leaders, a record seven years after their arrest. The prosecutor's main charge against Mathieu Ngirumpatse, Edouard Karemera and Joseph Nzirorera - respectively president, vice-president and secretary general of the party - is their creation and command of the MRND's youth movement, the Interahamwe, the principal militia group that executed the 1994 genocide of Rwandan Tutsis. The prosecution called its first witness to back up the accusation, a former MRND youth leader in a district of the Rwandan capital, Kigali. He told the court that he had resigned from the post in June 1992, six months after the Interahamwe movements were created, but speculated that "this is where the genocide project began".

Residence known for eight years

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