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Germany prosecutors file war crimes charges against Rwandan genocide suspects

German prosecutors announced on Friday they are pursuing war crimes charges against two Rwandan men suspected of ordering the killing of Congolese citizens. The men, Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) [JURIST news archive] leader Ignace Murwanashyaka [HJP profile] and FDLR deputy leader Straton Musoni, were arrested in Germany [JURIST report] in November 2009. The FDLR allegedly instigated the 1994 Rwandan genocide [HRW backgrounder; JURIST news archive], in which 800,000 people were killed, before fleeing to the neighboring country of the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to German prosecutors, in addition to issuing an order that resulted in the killing of more than 200 people, Murwanashyaka and Musoni also issued orders that led to the rape of dozens of women [DW report] and the looting of numerous villages.

In August, German prosecutors charged a former Rwandan mayor with genocide [JURIST report] relating to his involvement in the Rwandan genocide. According to prosecutors, Onesphore Rwabukombe [Trial Watch profile] allegedly coordinated three massacres [AFP report] in which more than 3,700 Tutsis, who had sought refuge in a church, were killed. In June, a Finnish court convicted former Rwandan pastor [JURIST report] Francois Bazaramba on charges of genocide and murder and sentenced him to life in prison. Canadian prosecutors announced in November that a second suspect had been charged [JURIST report] under Canada's Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act [text, PDF]. The first man charged under the act was Desire Munyaneza. 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 2009 of seven counts of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes under the act.

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