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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Minister Seeks Trials For Rwandan Killers

UNITED NATIONS -- Rwanda's new justice minister has told the United Nations his government has arrested a number of people suspected of genocide and other grave violations and is ready to turn them over for trial by an impartial external tribunal.

In a letter to Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali made public Tuesday, Minister Alphonse-Marie Nkubito urged the speedy establishment of such a tribunal, similar to one set up in The Hague last year by the Security Council to try people accused of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia.

Boutros-Ghali is expected to recommend whether a new tribunal should be established -- to try those responsible for the massacres of 500,000 Tutsi men, women and children and Hutu opponents of the government during the Rwandan civil war this year -- when he receives a report from a three-member commission of experts named earlier this month to investigate evidence of genocide and other atrocities.

"We have arrested a number of persons against whom we have credible evidence that they committed genocide and other grave violations of international humanitarian law," Nkubito wrote. "We are prepared to hold them, consistent with international standards for detention, pending prosecution by an international tribunal."

Meanwhile, in the Zairean refugee camps to which Hutu refugees flooded fearing reprisals in the wake of the country's takeover by the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front, UN relief officials said Tuesday new atrocities were being committed by soldiers of the defeated Hutu-majority Rwandan army. The officials confirmed that a refugee was beaten to death after urging his countrymen to return home. The killers were reported to be young men in the army's uniform.

The soldiers are striving to maintain rule over the Hutu refugee population and prevent them returning home.

New violence against the timid refugees is certain to complicate efforts by relief agencies and the UN to coax Rwandans out of their disease-infested camps and back to their own lands.

UN officials promised a major operation from Wednesday to try to encourage their return and to prevent more Rwandans flooding into eastern Zaire.

Adding urgency to the repatriation effort, aid workers reported the outbreak of yet another killer disease in refugee camps Tuesday -- a mysterious fever that is suspected to be typhus. Health officials said they have confirmed 30 cases of the new fever, with 19 victims dying.

(Reuters, LAT)