Even as the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) officially closed shop on June 30 handing over the remaining backlog to a residue mechanism, the court is still stuck with five former Rwandan officials who were acquitted of genocide crimes.
Although the five were cleared of criminal responsibility for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, no country wants to take them in.
They have all indicated they do not wish to return to Rwanda, saying they wanted to join their families in various European countries.
The former suspects include former ministers Andre Ntagerura (Transport), Casmir Bizimungu (Health) and Jerome Bicamumpaka (Foreign affairs) – who were part of the transitional government that was installed after the death of President Juvenal Habyarimana, and which presided over the Genocide.
Others are Glatien Kabiligi, former head of operations in the former armed forces, and Protais Zigiranyirazo, a businessman and Habyarimana’s brother-in-law.
Kabiligi is awaiting an appellant court’s verdict on his request to rejoin his family in France, having secured the green light from a French lower court.
All the five stay in rented houses and live off ICTR allowances.
Also stuck in Arusha – the northern Tanzanian town which houses the UN tribunal – are two former convicts who completed their sentences.
“It’s a problem we have had for a long time now. Ntagerura was acquitted in 2004 but has since failed to get a country to go to,” ICTR Spokesperson, Roland Amoussouga, told The New Times.
With the term for the residue process set to expire in 2014, the United Nations Security Council has stepped up an appeal to member states to take in both the acquitted and former convicted officials.
Last week, the Security Council adopted a resolution to that effect after countries showed reluctance to respond to a similar resolution last year.
“The Security Council reiterates its call upon all states in position to do so, to cooperate with and render all necessary assistance to the international tribunal for its increased efforts towards the relocation of acquitted and convicted persons who have completed their sentences,” reads the latest Council resolution.
Amoussouga said: “This is a renewed call since we have failed to get any positive response following last year’s appeal. All the acquitted and released people don’t have their families in Africa; they all have their wives and children in European countries, which is why we want Europe to take them”.
There has never been such an experience before and their fate remains uncertain, at least according to the ICTR publicist.
“If it remains like this, then the tribunal will hand over the matter to the Security Council. The UN will determine the way forward. I really have no idea what will happen.”
The ICTR President Vagn Joensen, whose service was last week extended by the Security Council, to December 31, 2014, told reporters that he and the Tribunal Registrar were stepping up diplomatic efforts to find host countries for the former officials.
Rwanda maintains that both the acquitted persons and former convicts were free to return home.
The Minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama, says the former suspects would be treated as any other citizen.
“As the law provides, once a person is acquitted by a competent court, they can’t be subjected to prosecution by another court. If they chose to come to Rwanda, they would be free citizens, they can only be prosecuted on crimes they have never been tried for,” Karugarama told The New Times.
Asked if the government would facilitate their reintegration, the minister said: “All Rwandans are welcome home, and I think there is no better place to live than your homeland.”
Those acquitted and have already secured host countries include former education minister Andre Rwamakuba (Switzerland) and the former prefect of the former Kibuye prefecture, Emmanuel Bagambiki, who is in Belgium.
France has received former mayors Jean Mpambara and Ignace Bagilishema, of Rukara and Mabanza communes, respectively.
In total, the 17-year old tribunal has acquitted 10 people.
Six have died in jail. They include Nzirorera (who was on trial), Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, George Rutaganda (both died in a Benin prison), Pastor Eliphaz Ntakirutinka, Joseph Serugendo (passed away from Tanzania) and former Anglican Bishop Samuel Musabyimana, who died after pleading not guilty.
The latter’s body was transferred to Rwanda for burial according to his wish, Amoussouga said.
Meanwhile, the Security Council called for further cooperation in efforts to bring to justice top Genocide fugitives before the International Residue Mechanism winds up in two years time.
There are nine suspects who have been indicted by the Tribunal but remain at large. Notably among them is suspected Genocide chief financier Felicien Kabuga, former Minister of Defence, Augustine Bizimana, and former Commander of the Presidential Guard, Protais Mpiranyi.
The tribunal recently concluded evidence hearings for the three men, aimed at keeping testimonies about their alleged role in the Genocide, in which at least a million people were killed.
Source (The New Times)
Article in Kinyarwanda
Bamwe mu bahanaguweho ibyaha n’Urukiko rw’ Arusha ntibarabona aho berekeza
Abantu batanu mu bahoze ari abayobozi mbere ya 1994 bashinjwaga ibyaba byibasiye inyokomuntu ndetse n’ibyaba by’intambara mu 1994 kugeza ubu ntibarabona ibihugu berekezamo nyuma yo kugirwa abere n’urukiko mpanabyaha rwashyiriweho u Rwanda rukorera Arusha.
Abo banyapolitiki ni André Ntagerura wahoze ari minisitiri ushinzwe gutwara abantu n’ibintu (Transport), Casmir Bizimungu wahoze ari minisitiri w’ubuzima, Jerome Bicamumpaka wahoze ari minisitiri w’ububanyi n’amahanga ndetse we akaba yaragiyeho muri guverinoma y’abatabazi ya 1994, gratien Kabiligi wari ushinzwe ibikorwa bya gisirikare mu ngabo z’u Rwanda na Protais Zigiranyirazo wari umucuruzi ukomeye ndetse akaba yari muramu wa Habyalimana Juvenal.
Kabirigi aracyategereje umwanzuro wa nyuma uva muri uru rukiko kuko hagitegerejwe ubujurire uretse ko yamaze kugirwa umwere n’umucamanza w’umufaransa ndetse yasabye kuba yasanga umuryango mu Bubirigi.
Aba banyapolitiki batanu baracyari Arusha muri Tanzania aho uru rukiko rubarizwa ndetse ngo bategereje kumenya aho berekeza nyuma yo kugirwa abere.
Ntagerura yagizwe umwere muri 2004 ariko kuva icyo gihe ntarabona aho yerekeza nk’uko Roland Amoussouga, umuvugizi w’uru rukiko rw’Arusha yabitangarije ikinyamakuru “The New Times” .
Akanama ka ONU gashinzwe umutekano kasabye ko abagizwe abere n’uru rukiko mpanabyaha byakorewe u Rwanda rw’Arusha ndetse n’abahamwe n’ibyaba hashakwa ibihugu bibakira kuko igihe ntaregwa cyo kuba bakiri Arusha ari umwaka wa 2014.
Aka kanama gashinzwe umutekano muri ONU gakomeza gasaba ko bimwe mu bihugu byajya byakira abahamwe n’ibyaha ariko barangije ibihano byabo.
Umuvugizi w’uru rukiko Amoussoga aganira na “The New Times” yakomeje agira ati “ abarangiza ibihano ndetse n’abagirwa abere n’urukiko rw’Arusha bose nta miryango bafite muri Africa kuko iri I Burayi, niyo mpamvu dushaka ko ibyo bihugu by’I Burayi byakwemera kubakira.”
Umuvugizi w’uru rukiko akomeza avuga ko nibakomeza kubura ibihugu byemera kubakira, ikibazo bazakirekera akanama k’umutekano ka ONU akaba ariko kabyikemurira.
Umuyobozi w’uru rukiko Vagn Joensen, uherutse no kongererwa manda kugera tariki 31 Ugushyingo 2014 avuga ko bazakoresha uburyo bwose bushoboka ngo babone ibihugu bibakira.
Minisitiri w’ubutabera mu Rwanda Tharcisse Karugarama aganira n’ikinyamakuru “The New Times “ avuga ko abarangije ibihano byabo ndetse n’abagizwe abere n’urukiko rw’ Arusha bafite uburenganzira bwo kuza mu Rwanda nk’abandi banyarwanda bose.
Minisitiri Karugarama yagize ati “ nk’uko amategeko abiteganya iyo urukiko rwemewe ku isi ruciye urubanza nta rundi rukiko rubirengaho, ubwo rero abo banyarwanda bahawe ikaze mu Rwanda nk’abandi banyarwanda, ariko ubwo inkiko zacu zishobora kubakurikirana ku bindi byaha biramutse bihari.”
Bamwe mu bagizwe abere n’urukiko rw’Arusha babonye ibihugu bibakira ni Andre Rwamakuba wahoze ari minisitiri w’uburezi ubu uri muri Sweden, Emmanuel Bagambiki wahoze ari perefe w’icyahoze ari Kibuye uri mu Bubirigi, Jean Mpambara na Ignace Bagilishema bahoze ari abayobozi ba komine Rukara na Mabanza bari mu Bufaransa.
Uru rukiko rumaze imyaka 17 rukora akazi karwo, muri icyo gihe rumaze kugira abere abantu icumi kuva rwatangira.
Kuva tariki 30 Kamena 2012 urukiko mpanabyaha byakorewe u Rwanda rukorera Arusha rwarangije imirimo yarwo usibye imanza nkeya rwari rusigaje gukemura.