François Karera, former Prefect (Governor) of Kigali-Rural prefecture, was arrested in Nairobi, Kenya on Saturday 20 October and immediately transferred to the Detention Facility of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha.
Karera was appointed Prefect of Kigali-Rural prefecture in April 1994 and served in that capacity until mid-July 1994. He had previously served as sous-préfet (Deputy Governor) in the same prefecture and as bourgmestre (mayor) of Nyarugenge commune in the Prefecture of Kigali-ville.
In the indictment against him the Prosecutor charges him with four counts of Genocide, or in the alternative complicity in Genocide, and Crimes against humanity, specifically extermination or, in the alternative, murder. He is said to have spearheaded the campaign of destruction of Tutsi homes and the murder of Tutsi civilians in his home commune of Nyarugenge in Kigali-ville and in Kigali-rural Prefecture.
In one instance Karera is alleged to have instructed policemen under his authority not to destroy or kill the occupants of a specific household near to his own residence because he wanted to see how long a Tutsi could survive without food or water. The occupants of the house were locked inside for over two months and several of them starved to death.
In Ntarama, a village in the Kigali-rural prefecture, Karera is alleged to have encouraged Tutsi refugees to take shelter at the Ntarama parish compound and to have represented to them that soldiers would be sent to protect them. Instead he organised and led a group of soldiers and Interahamwe in an attack on the refugees which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Tutsi civilians.
The Registrar of ICTR will appoint duty counsel to assist François Karera who will make his initial appearance before the Tribunal shortly. This arrest brings the number of persons in the custody of the Tribunal to 52.