Hutu rebels arrested for Congo war crimes

Two leading Rwandan Hutu rebels were arrested in Germany on Tuesday on suspicion of crimes against humanity and recent war crimes in Congo, prosecutors in Karlsruhe said.

Hutu rebels arrested for Congo war crimes
Photo: DPA

The pair, Ignace Murwanashyaka, 46, and Straton Musoni, 48, are the leader and deputy leader respectively of the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR), German federal prosecutors said in a statement.

Murwanashyaka, who lived in Mannheim and directed his forces from there, was arrested in Karlsruhe. The authorities picked up Musoni near Stuttgart.

The FDLR is estimated to have 5,000 to 6,000 fighters, many of whom took part in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda before crossing into the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

“The accused are strongly suspected, as members of the foreign terrorist organisation FDLR, of committing crimes against humanity and war crimes,” said federal prosecutors in a statement.

Murwanashyaka is additionally accused of being the ringleader of a terrorist organisation.

According to the statement, the paramilitary FDLR are suspected of “killing several hundred citizens, raping several women and plundering and burning several villages” between January 2008 and July 2009.

Around 800,000 people, mostly Tutsis and moderate Hutus, were butchered in the space of 100 days in Rwanda in 1994.

Prosecutors said that after a year-long investigation, they had amassed enough evidence to arrest the men.

Rwanda has voiced its concern over the FDLR’s continued use of Germany as a safe haven, despite a UN Security Council resolution imposing travel and financial restrictions on the group’s leaders.

The FDLR is almost entirely composed of ethnic Hutus opposed to the government of President Paul Kagame.

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101-year-old former Nazi guard pleads innocent in German trial

A 101-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard on Monday once again denied being complicit in war crimes during the Holocaust as his trial drew to a close in Germany.

101-year-old former Nazi guard pleads innocent in German trial

Josef Schütz, the oldest person so far to face trial over Nazi crimes during World War II, is accused of involvement in the murders of 3,518 prisoners at the Sachsenhausen camp in Oranienburg, north of Berlin, between 1942 and 1945.

The pensioner, who now lives in Brandenburg state, has pleaded innocent throughout the trial, saying he did “absolutely nothing” and was not aware of the gruesome crimes being carried out at the camp.

“I don’t know why I am here,” he said again at the close of the proceedings, his voice wavering.

Dressed in a grey shirt and pyjama bottoms and sitting in a wheelchair, Schütz insisted he had had nothing to do with the atrocities and was “telling the truth”.

READ ALSO: Ex-Nazi death camp secretary who fled trial to face court in Germany

Prosecutors say he “knowingly and willingly” participated in the crimes as a guard at the camp and are seeking to punish him with five years behind bars.

But Schütz’s lawyer, Stefan Waterkamp, said that since there were no photographs of him wearing an SS uniform, the case was based on “hints” of his possible involvement.

“As early as 1973, investigators had information about him but did not pursue him. At the time, witnesses could have been heard but now they are all dead or no longer able to speak,” Waterkamp said.

Former Nazi guard

The 101-year-old former Nazi guard covers his face at the Neuruppin courthouse. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Sommer

It would be a mistake for the court to try to “make up for the mistakes of a previous generation of judges”, the lawyer said.

Antoine Grumbach, 80, whose father died in Sachsenhausen, told AFP Schuetz “does not want to remember”, calling it “a form of defence”.

The trial was not just about “putting a centenarian in prison”, he said. It had also produced evidence that Sachsenhausen was an “experimental extermination camp”.

“All the cruellest methods were invented there and then exported,” Grumbach said.

READ ALSO: Trials of aging Nazis a ‘reminder for the present’, says German prosecutor