Léonidas Rusatira, former Colonel in the Rwanda Armed Forces and Commander of the “Ecole Supérieure Militaire” (ESM) was arrested today in
Brussels, Belgium on charges of genocide and other crimes he is alleged to have committed in Rwanda in 1994. The accused, who for many years was also Directeur de Cabinet of the Rwanda Ministry of Defence, was arrested at the request of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. He faces five counts of genocide, crimes against humanity for murder and extermination and violations of the Geneva Conventions.
Rusatira, who was born in Gatome Commune, RuhengeriPrefecture in May 1944, is alleged to have played a major role in the killing of thousands of Tustis who sought refuge at the Ecole Technique Officielle (ETO) in Kigali.
It is alleged that widespread killings in and around Kigali began on 7 April 1994 and forced thousands of Tutsis and moderate Hutus to seek refuge at ETO which was under the protection of United Nations Assistance Mission to Rwanda (UNAMIR) forces.
However, following the assurance by Rusatira that the Rwanda army would protect the refugees and after the killing of ten Belgian soldiers who had been guarding the Prime Minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, the UNAMIR forces left ETO.
Shortly after their departure, on 11 April 1994, an attack against the refugees was launched by soldiers, allegedly led by Rusatira and by Interahamwe led by George Rutaganda, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of Tutsis and moderate Hutus at ETO.
Those who survived the ETO attack were led to Nyanza where, under the supervision of Rusatira, they were attacked and killed by the soldiers and the Interahamwe. According to the indictment, some days after the massacre the accused was promoted to the rank of General in the Rwanda Armed Forces.
For his part in those attacks, George Rutaganda was convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity (murder and extermination) and sentenced to life imprisonment. His appeal is pending.