Former Rwandan rebel leader accused of war crimes dies in Germany
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.
From Germany, Ignace Murwanashyaka led the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) during its operations in eastern DR Congo in 2009 and masterminded massacres and other war crimes there, a trial in the southern German city of Stuttgart found in 2015.
Last year his conviction was overturned pending a retrial -- but he has died aged 55, the regional court said.
The Tageszeitung daily said he died in a university clinic in nearby Mannheim.
Murwanashyaka's health declined abruptly on April 11, a court source told DPA news agency, confirming he had died.
The German Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe overturned the initial conviction of Murwanashyaka last December, citing "judicial errors both in his favour and against".
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.
Both men, who lived in Germany since the 1980s, were accused of 26 crimes against humanity and 39 war crimes, as well as leading a terrorist organisation from abroad.
They were judged under a special law for prosecuting foreigners committing crimes outside Germany.