Fabien Neretse, Rwandan convicted of Genocide against the Tutsi dies in Belgium prison

By Wycliffe Nyamasege
On 14 April 2024 at 04:35

Fabien Neretse, a Rwandan national who was convicted for his role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and crimes against humanity, has died in prison aged 76.

Neretse passed away in Liège on Tuesday, April 9, 2024. A funeral ceremony was held for him on Saturday, April 13, his family said.

The agricultural scientist was the first person tried by Belgian courts for his involvement in the Genocide against the Tutsi and sentenced to 25 years in prison in December 2019.

He was found guilty of 11 war crimes committed between April 6, 1994 to July 14, 1994.

"All of these facts established points that the accused committed the crime of genocide in Rwanda between 6 April to 14 July 1994 in Kigali, Ruhengeri and Gitarama,” Sophie Leclercq, President of the criminal court, ruled.

Neretse was arrested in France in 2011 where he had rebuilt a professional life as a refugee.

The prosecution had cited Neretse’s appearance at public rallies, where he is said to have incited fellow members of the Hutu ethnic group to slaughter the minority Tutsi community, resulting in the deaths of 13 people in Nyamirambo.

Some of the victims were shot dead by soldiers as they were preparing to flee their homes to join the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) camp.

While convicting Neretse, the court said there was evidence that the accused created, sustained, and financed militia members of the Interahamwe, who were out to exterminate the Tutsi.

The accused had denied involvement in the atrocities during the trial, insisting and was an inactive party member and a friend to Tutsi.

"I will never stop insisting that I neither planned nor took part in the genocide," he told the jury.

Neretse’s death comes as Rwanda marks the 30th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi that claimed the lives of more than a million people.

Fabien Neretse, Rwandan convicted of Genocide against Tutsi has died in Belgium prison