Rwanda’s main genocide survivor group on has welcomed the extradition of a top fugitive to stand trial over the 1994 killings as a “step in the right direction” for justice.
Prosecutors in Kigali said Venant Rutunga, a 72-year-old genocide suspect, was flown late Monday from the Netherlands to Rwanda where he is accused of directing massacres over a quarter-century ago.
Rutunga, an agricultural scientist, headed a government research institute in Rwanda’s south at the time of the genocide and allegedly mobilized soldiers to kill Tutsis in his department and surrounding area.
Executive secretary of the Ibuka survivors’ association, Naphtali Ahishakiye pointed out that “every time a top genocide fugitive is extradited, it is a step in the right direction for justice.”
“It has taken decades but we welcome the extradition of Venant Rutunga to Rwanda, who was responsible for the murder of many Tutsi he worked with and lived within his home area.”
Rutunga was detained by the Dutch authorities in 2019 after Rwanda issued a warrant for his arrest and extradition some years earlier.
Dutch courts turned down his appeal against being returned to Rwanda for trial.
Rutunga becomes the third genocide suspect to be extradited from the Netherlands after Jean Baptiste Mugimba and Jean Claude Iyamuremye returned to stand trial in 2016.
Rwanda’s National Public Prosecution Authority thanked Dutch authorities for their “continued cooperation in matters of mutual legal assistance and contribution to global efforts to fight impunity”.
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