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Rwandan genocide suspect Phénéas Munyarugarama confirmed dead

A UN-backed tribunal prosecutor says a Rwandan fugitive wanted for playing a major role in the 1994 genocide has been confirmed dead

BRUSSELS – A Rwandan fugitive wanted for playing a major role in the 1994 genocide has been confirmed dead, leaving only four major suspects to be found, a prosecutor from a United Nations-backed court said on Wednesday.

Phénéas Munyarugarama, one of the few fugitives indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), has been confirmed dead, said Serge Brammertz, chief prosecutor of the United Nations Residual International Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals.

The news comes less than a week after Protais Mpiranya, another ‘key fugitive’, was confirmed dead in 2006 in the South African nation of Zimbabwe,

A statement from Brammertz’s office said Munyarugarama “died of natural causes on or about February 28, 2002 in Kankwala, in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where he was also buried.”

Munyarugarama had been charged with genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity. He was accused of being responsible for massacres, attacks and sexual violence against Tutsi civilians in various places in the Bugesera region.

The massacre of Rwanda’s Tutsi population was sparked on April 6, when a plane carrying President Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down and crashed in the capital, Kigali, killing the leader who, like most Rwandans, was an ethnic Hutu.

The Tutsi were accused of shooting down the plane and, although they denied it, bands of Hutu extremists began killing them, including children, with the support of the army, the police and militias.

Brammertz said he hoped the news of Munyarugarama’s death would “bring a finishing touch” to victims and families. The chief prosecutor said his “main priority now is Fulgence Kayishema, who we previously located in South Africa”.

ABC News

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