BELGIUM : Fury Over Asylum Application by Bernard Ntuyahaga Who Killed 10 Belgians During Genocide Against Tutsi

A reported application for asylum by a former Rwandan major sentenced to 20 years in jail for his role in the deaths of 10 Belgian soldiers has caused fury in Belgium. By Daniel Boffey in Brussel


Bernard Ntuyahaga, found guilty of manslaughter in 2007 over killing of UN troops from Belgium on the beginning of genocide against Tutsi


Bernard Ntuyahaga was found guilty of manslaughter in 2007 over the killing of the Belgian paratroopers who were on UN duty in Rwanda when they were seized and hacked to death with machetes.
News of Ntuyahaga’s early release, and reports in the Belgian media of the application for asylum, have been met with outrage from members of the military and groups representing the Tutsi minority in Rwanda.
The deaths of the peacekeepers in 1994 led to the withdrawal of the 450 Belgian troops in Rwanda, and eventually troops from other nations in the UN mission, opening the way for the genocide of the Tutsi community to spread.
Shema Innocent, a spokesman for an association of relatives of Tutsi victims of the genocide, said: “We were not informed that he was released. We have, however, followed closely his process. I understand that he has served his sentence, but that man should actually be in prison forever.
“He has killed 10 Belgian soldiers. I hope he will be sent back to Rwanda soon and that he will be tried there again.”
During his trial, Ntuyahaga was accused by prosecutors of spreading rumours that the Belgian peacekeepers were responsible for shooting down a plane and killing President Juvenal Habyarimana on 6 April 1994.
The day after the death of the president, Ntuyahaga took the peacekeepers from the residence of the prime minister, whom they had been tasked with protecting, and transported them to a military camp in the capital, Kigali, where they were beaten to death, shot or killed with machetes. In the following three months, about 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered.
Ntuyahaga was released from a Belgian jail in June but has been in a closed asylum centre since.
Belgium is obliged to check whether he is at risk of inhuman and degrading treatment in Rwanda, where experts say he likely be arrested on arrival.
Ntuyahaga’s wife and child live in Denmark. The Het Nieusblad newspaper had reported he had tried to join them but that Danish authorities refused. With a successful asylum application in Belgium he could travel to join his family.