The death has been confirmed of the last major Rwandan fugitive indicted by a war crimes court for his role in the 1994 genocide.
Protais Mpiranya was head of the presidential guard and was accused of ordering the murder of the then-Prime Minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana.
His officers also murdered the 10 Belgian UN peacekeepers guarding her.
Investigators tracked him down to Zimbabwe, where a recently exhumed grave confirmed he had died in 2006.
They found that Mpiranya had used various aliases whilst on the run to evade capture for over 12 years.
In the immediate aftermath of the genocide – in which about 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by ethnic Hutu extremists in 100 days – he moved to Cameroon.
Others accused of taking part in the genocide had fled over the border to the Democratic Republic of Congo, forming a rebel group known as the FDLR.
Mpiranya joined them in 1998, commanding a brigade that fought alongside Zimbabwe’s army, which had become embroiled in a conflict in DR Congo involving several nations often dubbed “Africa’s world war”.
He adopted the name Alain Hirwa and became known as “Commander Alain” – and was well respected by senior Zimbabwean officers, the investigation found.
It was his Zimbabwean allies who organised refuge for him in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, after his indictment was made public in 2002 by the international tribunal set up to bring to justice those responsible for the genocide.
He was charged with eight counts, including genocide, murder and rape, for “having instructed, supervised, encouraged, and assisted the crimes” carried out by the presidential guard.
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