Soldier guilty in Rwanda’s genocide dies in Niger

By Sonia Rolley

PARIS (Reuters) – A former lieutenant colonel convicted of inciting genocide in Rwanda in 1994 has died in Niger after an appeal for medical assistance in Britain went unanswered, his lawyer said on Saturday.

Tharcisse Muvunyi was in the Rwandan army when ruling Hutu majority extremists killed more than 800,000 minority Tutsis and Hutu moderates in 100 days.

He was arrested in the United Kingdom, sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2010 and freed two years later after time served.

“Yesterday afternoon Muvunyi was found dead in the shower by one of his housemates,” Muvunyi’s lawyer Abbe Jolles told Reuters.

Muvunyi lived in a safe house in Tanzania on release in 2012 and moved to Niger in 2021 in a house with seven others who had been tried for their roles in the genocide.

He had been sick for weeks. On May 6, he was found unconscious at home and taken to hospital for brain scans that were never completed. He was discharged on May 10.

Six days later, Jolles filed a request with the United Nations for Muvunyi’s medical evacuation to the UK.

“Muvunyi needs urgent medical care,” said the request that Jolles shared with Reuters.

She did not hear back.

The U.N. did not respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Sonia Rolley; Editing by Edward McAllister and Andrew Cawthorne)