The former leader of a Rwandan Hutu rebel group has died in a German prison while he was awaiting a retrial on war crimes charges, a court said Wednesday.
Ignace Murwanashyaka allegedly led a Rwandan militia in eastern Congo from his home in Germany. His war crimes conviction in 2015 was groundbreaking for Germany, but the case was overturned.
The Tageszeitung daily said he died in a university clinic in nearby Mannheim.
Murwanashyaka’s health deteriorated suddenly on April 11 and he died in hospital a few days later, the court in south-western Germany said. It did not provide further details of his condition.
Ignace Murwanashyaka, 55, was president of the Democratic forces for the liberation of Rwanda (DFLR) during its operations in eastern DRC in 2008 and 2009, and masterminded massacres and other war crimes there, a trial in the southern German city of Stuttgart found in 2015.
He was accused along with his group deputy Straton Musoni of having abetted five raids by FDLR rebels on Congolese settlements in the region of North Kivu.
Prior to the case being sent for a retrial Murwanashyaka had received a 13-year jail term while Musoni received eight years, a sentence which stands.
However, the ruling was overturned last year due to procedural errors and a retrial was still pending. He was kept in custody pending the new trial.
An eight-year sentence for deputy, Straton Musoni, was not overturned.