General Rusatira, born in 1934, was Commandant of the High Military School of Kigali during the genocide of 1994. During several years, he has been Secretary General for defence of Rwanda.
He is charged of five counts of genocide, complicity in genocide, crimes against humanity (murder and extermination), and violations of the Geneva conventions.
According to the indictment of 12 April 2002, he would have been responsible, on 6 and 30 April, or around these dates, of massacres of members of the Tutsi’s population, with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, the racial or ethnic group.
He would have participated to the planification and execution of the crimes he is accused of. The indictment also indicates that his subordinates acting under his authority (military and Interahamwe, militia of the former party in power, the NRMD), have, de jure or de facto, committed these massacres, without the accused having taken necessary and reasonable measures to prevent them to do so, or to punish them.
It is also alleged that between 8 and 11 April 1994, Rusatira would have gone many times to the Official Technical School (OTS) in the province of Kicukiro (prefecture of Kigali rural) where the base of the Belgian military contingent of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMR) was located. He would have asked to the Belgian soldiers to leave the scene, claiming that “gendarmes and military of Rwanda could carry out the security of refugees”.
The indictment outlines that before these massacres, the OTS had been surrounded by military and Interahamwe, to whom Rusatira would have supplied weapons on 8 April 1994, or around this date.
During one of his visit to the OTS with his military escort, the accused would have evacuated some refugees he had selected. The prosecution adds that Rusatira was aware of the fact that the Belgian soldiers were leaving the OTS and that, consequently, refugees who were there were going to be killed by military and Interahamwe. Rusatira is reproached with not having taken any measure to stop the killings or punish the attackers acting under his authority.
The indictment adds that during the attack of 11 April 1994 at the OTS, “Rusatira was present and had the military under his orders, whereas Interahamwe answered Georges Rutaganda’s orders (see “related cases”), who was President of the National Committee of the Interahamwe at this time”.
The attack of 11 April would have led to the death of about a hundred people. Thousands of other refugees were rounded up and driven to Sonatures, close to the OTS. Rusatira would have told them to go to Nyanza where they would be safe. Those who were identified as Hutus would have been separated from the others. The Tutsis would have been slaughtered by military and Interahamwe using firearms and grenades. The few survivors would have been killed using weapons such as machetes.
General Rusatira had joined the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) which took power and ended the genocide of Tutsis and moderate Hutus in July 1994.
Several testimonies had reported his opposition to the genocide planed by the extremist Hutu power at that time.
M. Rusatira, who fled from Rwanda in 1995, was listed as organizer and planner of the genocide by the Rwandan government since 2000.
Rusatira was arrested in Belgium on 15 May 2002, on the basis of a warrant of arrest of the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda, and incarcerated at the St Gilles prison in Brussels.