On April 12, 1994, as extremists in Rwanda’s Hutu ethnic group were launching a bloody campaign of ethnic cleansing in that Central African nation, more than 1,500 members of Rwanda’s Tutsi minority in the Kivumu commune sought sanctuary in a local church. Hutu militia and local authorities knocked down the building with a bulldozer and the refugees, many of them women and children, were hacked to death with machetes or shot as they tried to escape. Helping lead the massacre was the local bourgmastre, or mayor, Gregoire Ndahimana.
The killings raged for more than 100 days and when the extremist regime that directed the slaughter was overthrown that summer, more than 800,000 were dead. An International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was established to call into account those former military and government officials responsible for the genocide, but Mr. Ndahimana and many others fled and remain at large.
The United States is cooperating with other governments, the United Nations and ICTR to make it harder for these men to continue to elude justice. Toward that end, the U.S. has renewed an offer of rewards of up to five million dollars for information leading to the arrest of 13 major suspects in the genocide, many of them believed to be living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
"Their continuing presence in the region represents a threat to stability and reconciliation" across the region, said Clint Williamson, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues.
Others targeted in the campaign are Felicien Kabuga, a wealthy Rwandan businessman who helped finance the rampaging militias, former Minister of Defense Augustin Bizimana, a commander of the military’s officer training school, Idelphonse Nizeyimana, and Protais Mpiranya, commander of the Rwandan Presidential Guard charged with murdering both Tutsis and ten U.N. peacekeepers.
Posters and other materials advertising information of the fugitives are being distributed through the DRC. Tips on their activities and whereabouts can be provided with complete confidentiality by phone within the DRC (081-715-2501) and internationally (243-81-715-2501), by email at rewardsforjusticeDRC@yahoo.com or on the Internet at www.rewardsforjustice.net/warcrimes