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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 September 2005, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
Genocide arrest of Rwanda general
Skulls in Rwanda
About 800,000 people died in Rwanda's 100-day genocide in 1994
An army general has been arrested at the order of a Rwandan local 'gacaca' court collecting evidence about the 1994 genocide, a court official says.

Maj-Gen Laurent Munyakazi denies accusations by witnesses that he was involved in killing people taking refuge at churches in the capital.

Domitille Mukantaganzwa confirmed his detention for war crimes and said he would appear before a court martial.

Some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in the genocide.

Community-based gacaca courts began in March the process of identifying the victims and perpetrators of massacres.

Correspondents say it is the first time an officer of such seniority has been detained on the orders of a gacaca court.

'Witness intimidation'

"He was put in detention by the gacaca... which will transfer his case to the court-martial, that is the requirement of the law," gacaca court official Ms Mukantaganzwa told AFP news agency.

Gacaca grassroots court in Rwanda's central Mayange region on 10/03/05
'Gacaca' courts are being held in villages across Rwanda

She confirmed reports that the general had also been arrested on suspicion of intimidating witnesses and attempting to tamper with evidence at the gacaca hearing in May at which he appeared.

His alleged war crimes would put him in the "first category" of genocide perpetrators, she said, meaning he is thought to have planned some of the killings.

Maj-Gen Munyakazi served as a lieutenant colonel in the Hutu-led army during the genocide. He has made no comment since his detention.

First category suspects are tried by Rwanda's formal justice system.

Some 12,000 gacaca courts were set up because the country's conventional courts were overwhelmed with genocide suspects and unable to try all those responsible.




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