Sweden arrests two Rwandan genocide suspects

Skulls of victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide

Skulls of victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide

A Swede of Rwandan origin and a Rwandan national were held in custody Wednesday in Sweden under suspicion of involvement in the African country’s 1994 genocide, prosecutors said.

“Two men have been arrested and are being questioned. They are suspected of participating in the genocide,” Tora Holst, prosecutor in charge of the probe, told AFP.

“They are the target of two related investigations and both deny the allegations.”

According to the UN, some 800,000 people died in the Rwandan genocide, which began after the assassination of Rwanda’s Hutu President Juvenal Habyarimana 20 years ago.

The prosector added that the men, whose identities have not been revealed, have lived in Sweden for “a number of years”.

One of them was born in 1955 and has become a Swedish citizen, while the other, born in 1962, lives in the Nordic country but is a Rwandan national.

In June, a Swedish appeal court upheld the first genocide conviction in the country’s history, with a life sentence for a Swede of Rwandan origin Stanislas Mbanenande.

The 55-year-old engineer, who worked as a teacher in his country, was found guilty of playing a leading role in five massacres committed in western Rwanda.

The appeal court said the conviction was based on a large number of reliable testimonies, including interviews with witnesses of some of the massacres. Mbanenande has denied all of the accusations.

Wednesday’s “investigations have nothing to do with this affair,” Holst clarified to AFP.

According to Swedish public radio, one of the suspects was arrested in central Sweden and the other in the north of the country.

The prosecutor is expected to decide on their detention by Thursday.

Other Rwandans have already been convicted in Canada, Finland, Norway and the Netherlands for their involvement in Rwandan genocide.