Family of Rwandan ex-judge demand probe into disappearance

The family of a former top Rwandan judge missing since 2003 have filed a legal complaint demanding an investigation into his alleged "kidnapping, torture and murder" by "security services".

Augustin Cyiza was the former president of the court of cassation, one of the highest legal bodies in the country, and a senior army officer in the Hutu regime of late President Juvenal Habyarimana.

In 1994 he chose to back the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) of current President Paul Kagame.

Kagame's RPF ended the 1994 genocide of the Tutsi people in Rwanda, which was triggered by the assassination of Habyarimana.

"On 23 April 2003 at 21:50, Lieutenant Colonel Cyiza was kidnapped" at a bus stop in the centre of the capital Kigali, the complaint filed to Rwanda's Attorney General read.

Lawyers filed the complaint on April 3 on behalf of Cyiza's wife Denyse Ntamwera and their children.

Alain Bernard Mukuralinda, spokesman for Rwanda's national prosecution authority, confirmed the complaint but made no further comment.

The complaint alleges that "agents of the security services" seized Cyiza and took him to an army camp outside Kigali "where he underwent interrogation and torture before being murdered".

It alleges his body was then taken to the Akagera national park in eastern Rwanda, where the corpse was set on fire and buried in a mass grave.

The complaint also alleges "persecution" and multiple attempts on Cyiza's life, saying that threats began after 1997 following arguments with the government over the role of the judiciary in the country.

He was suspended from the court of cassation in March 1998, and resigned shortly after.

The complaint adds that no investigation was made in Rwanda after his disappearance.