CORRECTS-DNA test shows Rwandan genocide suspect died years ago

ADDS MODERATE BEFORE HUTU IN SPOT, MODIFIES LEDE

By James Tasamba

KIGALI, Rwanda (AA) – A Rwandan politician wanted for his alleged role in the genocide of ethnic Tutsis died 20 years ago, an international tribunal announced on Friday.

The remains of Augustin Bizimana, former Rwandan defense minister wanted for his role in the 1994 genocide, have been identified in a grave in the Republic of Congo, said UN Prosecutor Serge Brammertz.

In a statement, Brammertz, the prosecutor of the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), said Bizimana had died in 2000.

He had been indicted on 13 counts, including genocide, murder, and rape.

His remains from a grave in Pointe Noire were identified by DNA testing late last year, according to the statement.

"Subsequent investigations and comparative DNA analysis over the last several months ruled out that the remains were those of any other person," it said.

Bizimana was accused of engineering the killing of former Rwandan Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana, 10 Belgian UN peacekeepers, and Tutsi civilians in five Rwandan regions.

Jean Bosco Siboyintore, of Rwanda's genocide tracking unit, expressed dismay that the former defense minister could not be held accountable for his crimes.

Prosecutors conducted an elaborate investigation to confirm the death of Bizimana because many genocide suspects had been posting bogus death announcements to escape justice, said Siboyintore.

The announcement of Bizimana's death comes days after the arrest of another genocide suspect, Felicien Kabuga, in Paris. He had allegedly financed the genocide and was evading arrest for more than two decades.

MICT with its offices in Arusha, Tanzania, and the Hague, the Netherlands had replaced the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda which wrapped up in 2015 after trying 50 cases.

It continues to pursue Protais Mpiranya, the former commander of the Rwandan Armed Forces and five other Rwandan suspects, Brammertz said. Mpiranya is blamed for the killing of top Rwandan politicians during the genocide.

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