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Pentecostal Pastor Jean-Bosco Uwinkindi Arrested in Uganda on Rwanda Genocide Charges

Pastor Jean-Bosco Uwinkindi

Pastor Jean-Bosco Uwinkindi

KAMPALA — A fugitive suspect in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide with a five-million dollar reward on his head has been arrested in Uganda, police said on Friday.

Jean-Bosco Uwinkindi, a Pentecostal pastor accused of helping to orchestrate the mass killings, was arrested after entering Uganda from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“The people in Arusha were tracking him. As soon as he crossed into Uganda, which was on 26th or 27th (June), they informed us. We picked him up on Wednesday in Mbarara,” said Edward Ochom, head of Uganda’s Criminal Investigation Directorate.

Uwinkindi was in 2001 indicted by the UN-backed International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) for genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity.

Until his arrest in western Uganda on Wednesday, he was among 11 suspects still at large and wanted by the ICTR, based in Tanzania’s northern town of Arusha.

Elly Womanya, deputy director of Interpol’s Kampala office, told AFP Friday that Uwinkindi would be transferred to the ICTR as soon as possible.

“We expect that he will be transferred to the United Nations Detention Facility by the end of this week,” ICTR deputy prosecutor Christopher Bongani Majola told AFP.

According to a copy of his indictment, Uwinkindi, 59, was a pastor at a church near Kigali during the genocide, and allegedly collaborated with an extremist political organisation that professed hatred for the Tutsi ethnic group.

In early April 1994, Uwinkindi is accused of helping to organise and instruct groups of Hutus to kill Tutsis, and after allowing Tutsi women and children to seek refuge in his church, he ordered their execution, according to the indictment.

The US State Department, through its Rewards for Justice programme, had previously offered a five-million-dollar reward for information leading to Uwinkindi’s arrest.

Uganda’s independent Daily Monitor newspaper reported Friday that Uwinkindi entered the country using the alias Jean Inshitu and was attempting to buy land and settle under that assumed name.

Several clergymen have been accused of playing roles in the 1994 genocide. The most senior to be arrested by the ICTR was an Anglican bishop, Samuel Musabyimana. He died in January 2003 before his trial opened.

The first prelate to be sentenced by the ICTR, Adventist pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, died at the beginning of 2007, just a week after he finished serving a 10-year sentence.

The other priests indicted by the tribunal are all Catholics. Among them Athanase Seromba, a priest from the western parish of Nyange, is serving a life sentence and Emmanuel Rukundo, a former military chaplain, is appealing against a 25-year sentence.

However, Homisdas Nsengimana, another priest who was in charge of a prestigious seminary in southern Rwanda, has joined an Italian diocese after being acquitted late last year.

[AFP]

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