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Rwanda doctor arrested in Gabon on genocide charges

Gabon police arrested Rwandan doctor Jean-Chrysostome Ndindabahizi [INTERPOL warrant] on charges of conspiracy to commit genocide, crimes against humanity and murder in connection to the 1994 Rwandan genocide [HRW backgrounder, JURIST news archive], according to Rwandan National Public Prosecution Authority [official website] spokesperson Augustin Nkusi on Thursday. Witnesses say Ndindabahizi was working as a doctor at Butare University Hospital in 1994 and participated in planning meetings [New Times report] prior to the genocide. Ndindabahizi's indictment was prepared and sent to the Gabonese government in January 2009. According to Gabonese presidency spokesperson Guy Bertrand, Ndindabahizi was handed over [Reuters report] to INTERPOL [official website], as Gabon has no extradition treaty with Rwanda. Ndindabahizi could face trial in Rwanda or the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website; JURIST news archive], established for the prosecution of high-level officials responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law during the Rwandan genocide.

Earlier this month, the ICTR transferred [JURIST report] the cases of 25 suspects to Rwandan authorities, following strategic steps to complete [completion strategy text, PDF] the court's trial work by 2011. In April, Rwandan authorities arrested [JURIST report] opposition presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza [campaign website], accusing her of denying the genocide and collaborating with terrorists. In March, an aid to Ingabire who had been convicted in absentia, pleaded guilty to genocide charges [JURIST report] in exchange for a reduced prison sentence of 17 years. Also in March, the Appeals Chamber of the ICTR affirmed the genocide conviction [JURIST report] of popular Rwandan singer-songwriter Simon Bikindi [Trial Watch profile]. The court also reversed the conviction for counts of genocide, murder and extermination against Rwandan district attorney Simeon Nchamihigo. Additionally, the widow of assassinated Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana, Agathe Habyarimana, was arrested [JURIST report] in France on suspicions of complicity in genocide and was later released on bail. In January, the Rwandan government released a report [JURIST report] concluding that the assassination of then-president Juvenal Habyarimana, which sparked the genocide, was the work of Hutu extremists. The ICTR continues its work to prosecute those most responsible for the Rwandan genocide, in which nearly 800,000 people, primarily Tutsis, were killed.

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