A Rwandan genocide fugitive, who had an EU arrest warrant issued, has been extradited by French authorities to face trial in Belgium.
Fabien Neretse the former head of the Rwanadan Coffee Office and influential figure in the Rwandan government was wanted by Belgium authorities for his role in the 1994 genocide of Tutsis and participation in war crimes.
An arrest warrant was issued by a Belgian court earlier this year, after a criminal case was opened against him in 2004.
Neretse was alleged to have been instrumental in the killing of a Belgo-Rwandan family and their neighbours, seeking shelter during the chaos that gripped the country. He is said to have alerted militia groups about the family’s plans to escape and incited their murder. He is also said to have witnessed their executions.
The Rwandan judiciary in August 2007 claimed that, Neretse also "helped the Interahamwe (Hutu milita) providing them with weapons, transportation and funds to finance the massacres".
Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga, said:
"We note the development and will continue to extend the cooperation required. Belgium has outstandingly done a commendable job to bring fugitives of Genocide to justice".
Alain Gauthier, president of Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda (CPCR), an organisation that lobbies French authorities to prosecute genocide suspects, welcomed the decision to extradite Neretse to Belgium.
"We simply hope that the Belgian courts do due diligence and that Neretse is tried. That's all that matters to us," Gauthier said.
Hirondelle News reported that three trials relating to the Rwandan genocide have already been organized in Belgium and a source claimed a further “four cases are currently being investigated and could lead to trials".
Twenty cases linked to the Rwandan genocide are also under investigation in France but, as of yet, no trial has opened