RCMP charge Rwandan with war crimes
The Mounties have arrested a 37-year-old Rwandan man in southwestern Ontario and charged him with war crimes related to the 1994 genocide in his home country.
Investigators picked up Jacques Mungwarere, who's been living in Windsor, Ont., late Friday in the city and took him to Ottawa, where he made a brief court appearance Saturday and was remanded in custody until another court date on Thursday.
Mungwarere becomes the second person to be charged with genocide under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, which became law in October 2000.
But the case, which has been more than six years in the making, is shrouded in secrecy.
The RCMP war crimes unit would only confirm that Mungwarere was accused of committing an act of genocide in the area of Kibuye, Rwanda.
The community is the capital of a western province and is situated on a lake that borders Rwanda and the Congo. It was the scene in 1994 of a horrific massacre where at least 2,000 Tutsis died when bulldozers knocked down the church where they had sought refuge.
RCMP cagey about details
RCMP Sgt. Marc Menard refused to go into details about the allegations against Mungwarere, saying that prosecutors in the Justice Department will have to answer specifics.
Officials with the Justice Department were not immediately available to comment.
"The RCMP's position is that we take this very seriously," Menard said Saturday.
"We're committed to prosecuting these cases to the full extent of law, and we're going to hold those involved in these types of crimes accountable for their actions."
Nearly 800,000 members of Rwanda's Tutsi minority and moderates from the Hutu majority were slaughtered during the 100-day Rwandan genocide in 1994.
Last May, Desire Munyaneza became the first person ever convicted under the War Crimes Act. A Quebec judge sentenced him to life in prison last month, with no chance of parole for 25 years.
In a statement, the RCMP's war crimes section said the investigation involving Mungwarere began in February 2003 after the unit received a complaint from a concerned citizen. But Menard couldn't say whether the tip originated in Canada or elsewhere.
How Mungwarere came to be in Canada and what his status might be in the immigration system is unclear.
Menard said the Canada Border Services Agency would have to answer that, and officials there were not immediately available for comment.
"I can only say that he is a Rwandan national," he said in an interview.