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Canada prosecutors charge second Rwanda genocide suspect under war crimes act

[JURIST] Canadian prosecutors announced Saturday that a Rwandan genocide [HRW backgrounder] suspect has been charged under Canada's Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act [text, PDF]. Jacques Mungwarere, arrested [Ottawa Citizen report] Friday by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) [official website], is only the second person to be charged under the law. Mungwarere claimed asylum in Canada in 2001, but never obtained Canadian citizenship. The investigation into Mungwarere's potential involvement in the genocide began in 2003. The War Crimes Section [official website] of the RCMP made several trips to Rwanda and the US in an effort to put together their case against Mungwarere. Lawyers from the Public Prosecution Service of Canada [official website] will prosecute Mungwarere.

The first man charged under the act was Desire Munyaneza [Trial Watch profile]. In October, he was sentenced to life imprisonment [JURIST report] for war crimes committed during the Rwandan genocide. Munyaneza was convicted [JURIST report] in May of seven counts of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes under the act. He was arrested [JURIST report] in 2005 by the RCMP after a five-year investigation. The trial, which was briefly postponed [JURIST report] after Munyaneza was beaten by a fellow prison inmate, lasted two years and included evidence from multiple nations. International legal observers expect Munyaneza's trial to set precedent for future war crimes litigation.

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