Rwandan spy chief Karenzi Karake arrested in London accused of war crimes

General Karenzi Karake has been accused by a Spanish court for genocide, crimes against humanity and terrorism resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Rwanda’s intelligence chief Karenzi Karake, has been arrested in London and is being held in the UK following orders from a Spanish court where he is wanted for war crimes.

Karake who is the director general of Rwanda’s National Intelligence and Security Services was arrested by British police at London Heathrow airport on Saturday.

Scotland Yard confirmed that the 54-year-old appeared before Westminster Magistrates’ Court after being detained under a European Arrest Warrant.

An police statment said: “Karenzi Karake, 54, a Rwandan national appeared before Westminster Magistrates' Court ... after being arrested on a European Arrest Warrant on behalf of the authorities in Spain, where he is wanted in connection with war crimes against civilians.”

Karake was remanded in custody and will re-appear at the court on Thursday.

In 2008, a Spanish judge accused Karake along with 40 Rwandan military and political leaders of ordering a number of massacres after the country's 1994 genocide.

The judge indicted the officials for genocide, crimes against humanity and terrorism which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians.

800,000 Rwandans are believed to have been killed between April and June 1994 by Hutu extremists.

Karake was also accused of ordering the killing of three Spanish nationals working for Medicos del Mundo.

Phillip Gourevitch, a leading writer on Rwanda, told BBC Newsnight that Saturday's arrest was equivalent to the head of the UK's MI6 or the US's CIA being arrested.