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Fifteen years on, the Rwandan genocide continues to take its toll on the Great Lakes region of Africa. Reconciliation programs are well underway in Rwanda, but armed groups that had their genesis in the genocide still threaten people in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.
This month, however, there was an important breakthrough for justice with the capture of one of the remaining major suspects of the horrible crimes committed during the rampage.
On August 11, Congolese forces arrested Gregoire Ndahimana, who had been indicted by an international court on charges that as mayor of Kivumu commune he helped incite and organize the massacre of 2,000 Tutsi people seeking refuge in his town.
He is believed to have been hiding with Hutu armed groups that fled from Rwanda to the vast forests of the eastern DRC after the 1994 genocide. He was caught while looking for food among the local population, and will face charges for war crimes and genocide.
Mr. Ndahimana’s capture is important for 2 reasons. Depending on his activities over the past 15 years, he could provide information on the whereabouts of other key Rwandan genocide fugitives such as Bernard Munyagishari, who as head of the Interahamwe militia movement is alleged to have directed many of the 800,000 killings. These fugitives’ continued presence in the region represents a threat to stability and reconciliation across the region.
Mr. Ndahimana’s arrest also marks a triumph for the joint efforts of the Congolese and Rwandan governments to bring peace to this troubled region. The United States commends this positive cooperation. Together with others in the international community, the United States is committed to seeking justice for the remaining Rwandan genocide fugitives, and it calls on authorities in all nations to join in the effort apprehend them.