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Rwandans arrested in UK over 1994 genocide

Five Rwandans were arrested in the UK on Thursday on suspicion of involvement in the 1994 genocide in their home country.

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Hutu militias killed between 800,000 and one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. (GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images)

Five Rwandans were arrested in the UK on Thursday on suspicion of involvement in the 1994 genocide in their home country.

The suspects were named as Emmanuel Ntezirayo, 51, from Manchester; Charles Munyaneza, 55, from Bedford; Celestine Ugirashebuja, 60, from Essex; Dr. Vincent Bajinya, 52, from north London; and Celestine Mutabaruka, 57, from Kent.

Three of the accused are former mayors of Rwandan communes, and four had previously won a High Court battle in 2009 to stop extradition after senior judges ruled there was "a real risk" they would not be given a fair trial.

They all denied any involvement in the genocide during the appeal.

The arrests follow an extradition request from Rwandan prosecutors who want the five men to face trial for crimes against humanity.

More from GlobalPost: Rwanda: Genocide's youngest victims

In a statement, Rwanda's chief prosecutor Martin Ngoga said he hoped the UK courts would extradite the men quickly so that they could "face justice."

The accused allegedly took a leading role in the 1994 genocide, which killed around 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 100 days.

Human Rights organization Redress said the new arrests were "an important step forward in the pursuit of justice for survivors of the genocide."

The men have already appeared for a first hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court. Their next appearance will be on Wednesday.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/130530/rwandans-arrested-uk-over-1994-genocide