[JURIST] Rwandan rebel leader Ignace Murwanashyaka [Interpol warrant] and deputy Straton Musoni were arrested [press release, in German] in Germany on Tuesday on war crimes and crimes against humanity charges. Murwanashyaka is the leader of the predominantly Hutu Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) [GlobalSecurity backgrounder]. The two are accused of wielding “significant influence” over the militia’s operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo [JURIST news archive; BBC backgrounder], which are thought to include the rape and killing of hundreds of civilians. Arrest warrants for the men were issued on Monday following a year-long investigation.
German officials previously arrested [JURIST report] Murwanashyaka in 2006 for alleged violations of immigration laws. In 2005, Murwanashyaka claimed [JURIST report] that the FDLR would end its war against the government and transform its fight into a political struggle. Many rebels fled Rwanda and crossed into eastern Congo 15 years ago after their alleged involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide [HRW backgrounder], during which an estimated 800,000 people, mostly ethnic Tutsis, died.