Rwanda Arrests and Surrenders to U.S. 3 Rwandans Charged with Political Killing of 2 Americans

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Thursday, May 1, 2003
Bruce Zagaris
On March 1, 2003, the Rwanda and U.S. Governments cooperated in the arrest and surrender to U.S. authorities of three nationals charged with murder, conspiracy and other crimes in a politically motivated 1999 attack on 30 tourist visiting Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. According to a media report, the three defendants were members of the liberation Army of Rwanda, which was established in 1996 in refugee camps in the neighboring country of Zaire by members of the former Rwandan Armed Forces and civilian militia known as the Interahamwe. The latter also participated in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Th killings were apparently political motivated. In late 1996, the Liberation Army issued a statement imposing a bounty on Americans. In 1999, Rwandan Hutu rebels hacked and bludgeoned to death Rob Haubner and his wife, Susan Miller, along with four British and two New Zealand tourist while they were on an ecological trip to view rare mountain gorillas. Michael Chertoff, Deputy Assistant Attorney General and head of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, declared that the U.S. would hunt, capture and bring to justice persons who commit acts of terror against Americans. The arrest and surrender of the three suspects also indicates a positive result of the efforts to act against the rebels who attacked Rwanda from bases in Congo in May and August 2001. The arrest and prosecution of the three suspects indicates a utility of law enforcement efforts against persons who perpetrate atrocities. Without law enforcement actions against them, they often will resort to more atrocities to maintain the power and lifestyles, especially if they believe they have impunity.