When he turned on the radio last Thursday, some unlikely news greeted Rwandan ambassador to India, Lt Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa. A French court had indicted him of war crimes. The court, presided over by France's top anti-terrorist judge, Jean-Louis Brugiere, named Nyamwasa as part of a conspiracy that killed former Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana in April '94 and triggered one of the worst war crimes in recent memory. Over 8,00,000 Rwandans—mostly Tutsi tribals—died in the ensuing genocide that lasted a 100 days. Brugiere has sought international arrest warrants for Nyamwasa and eight others, all aides to present Rwandan president Paul Kagame, who took control of the country after defeating the French-backed leftovers of Habyarimana's regime and finally putting a stop to the genocide.
Brugiere, nicknamed the 'Sheriff' for his erstwhile penchant to carry a Magnum pistol, is famous for rounding up vanloads of terror suspects. He played a crucial role in bringing to book Carlos the Jackal and Libyan officials convicted of blowing up planes in the '80s. This time he wants Kagame and his aides, including Nyamwasa, brought before a UN court to be tried for war crimes and genocide. He is convinced that Kagame instructed his rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) to destroy the plane in which president Habyarimana was travelling.