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CRIME

Congolese war crimes suspect living openly in Germany

A Congolese war criminal wanted by Interpol has been living openly in Germany, ARD news show Fakt reported on Monday. Politicians told the show that allowing him to stay would be a scandal as violence in the African hot spot intensifies.

Congolese war crimes suspect living openly in Germany
Congolese refugees flee violence this week. Photo: DPA

The 45-year-old man, Ignace Murwanashyaka, is the president of the militant group Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, a Hutu rebel group that operates in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Fakt reported.

He is wanted for war crimes, including crimes against humanity, genocide, terrorism, and mass rape, Interpol reports.

“That the president of a clearly terrorist organization has lived here for years is a disgrace on the country,” Green party security expert, Winfried Nachtwei, told the show.

New violence has been rumbling in bush fights with rebels in the unstable country this week, despite a large deployment of United Nations troops. “I am the president of this organization,” Murwanashyaka, who lives in Mannheim, told the show. “I know exactly what is going on.”

He was arrested in Mannheim in 2006 for immigration violations, at which point the country opened an investigation into his war crimes involvement. But no action has since been taken, a spokesperson for the high court in Karlsruhe told news agency DDP, adding it was difficult in such cases to collect evidence.

“We make ourselves untrustworthy if we don’t take definitive action against such people,” Social Democratic MP Walter Riester told the show.

GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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