Rwandan man arrested in Netherlands for acts of genocide in 1994
The Dutch police arrested a 67-year-old Rwandan man in Ermelo on suspicion of involvement in genocide in Rwanda in 1994. The Dutch authorities specifically suspect the former army officer Pierre-Claver K. of involvement in the deaths of around 80 women and children, who were burned alive, the Public Prosecution Service (OM) said on Tuesday.
The man has lived in the Netherlands since 1998 and had Dutch nationality. The Rwandan authorities previously requested his extradition, and the police arrested him last year after his Dutch nationality was revoked. But after a long legal battle, the Supreme Court banned the Netherlands from deporting him, fearing that the man would not get a fair trial in Rwanda.
The Dutch authorities then started their own investigation into the atrocities in Rwanda and the man’s possible involvement therein. That investigation led to the man’s arrest in Ermelo.
The man is suspected of setting a home on fire where about 80 people, mainly women and children, were killed while they were hiding. They had initially escaped from the violence that led to the deaths of thousands of Tutsi people in Mugina, about 30 kilometers southwest of the current capital of Kigali.
“After a conflict between Hutus and Tutsis, two ethnic groups in Rwanda, almost 800,000 people were murdered in a few months, mainly Tutsis,” the OM stated. “Thousands of them were killed in an attack on a parish in Mugina. After this attack, dozens of women and children were chased to a house, where they were burned alive,” the OM continued.
“The former army officer who was arrested today is specifically suspected of involvement in the setting fire to this house.” Last year, the OM also said that the man supplied the fuel for the fire, an accusation based on the testimony of eyewitnesses.
The Netherlands can prosecute suspects of international crimes if they have Dutch nationality or reside in the Netherlands, the second of which is the case with the former army officer. The suspect is in custody and will be arraigned on Friday.