Scotland Yard is investigating five people living in the UK over allegations they were involved in the Rwandan genocide.
Police in London said on Monday they had received a referral from authorities in the east African nation in January last year and Scotland Yard officers were sent there to help with the investigation.
Officers said they had assessed documents relevant to the allegations, which date from around 1994. During a 100-day period between April and July that year, about 800,000 Rwandans – mostly Tutsis, but including some Hutus – were murdered in a coordinated campaign directed and carried out by members of the majority Hutu population.
“As a result, we have subsequently commenced an investigation, which will initially involve a review of all the documentation transferred from Rwanda. Given the complexities involved, this is expected to be a protracted and lengthy process,” a Scotland Yard spokeswoman said.
The initial referral was received by the Met’s war crimes unit, which forms part of its counter-terrorism command.
The Daily Mirror reported that the suspects are Celestin Mutabaruka, 63, from Kent; Vincent Brown, also known as Vincent Bajinya, 59, from London; Celestin Ugirashebuja, 66, from Essex; Charles Munyaneza, 61, from Bedford; and Emmanuel Nteziryayo, from Manchester.
All five deny the allegations against them and involvement in the genocide.
In July 2017 five men with the same names, all of Hutu ethnicity, had a request to extradite them to Rwanda blocked by the UK high court.
At the time judges agreed there was a real risk they would be denied a fair trial if they were returned.
On Sunday Rwanda began a week of memorial events to mark the 25th anniversary of the start of the genocide. The president, Paul Kagame, laid a wreath at a memorial site in the capital, Kigali.