Rwanda criticises countries hosting genocide fugitives

Wednesday December 02 2015

The Rwandan government is equating states hosting genocide fugitives to international criminals worse than those who maimed people in Rwandas 1994 skirmishes.

Rwandan Justice Minister Johnston Busingye says countries hosting the fugitives will be judged more harshly than the suspects because they are denying the victims a path to justice.

"All states where genocidaires are hiding must understand that they owe a duty to humanity and to the Rwandan victims to ensure that those suspects are brought to justice.

"Otherwise, history will not be able to tell the difference between them and those they sheltered from justice," he said in Arusha during the closing events for the International Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

"It is not the bad deeds of these suspects that will be remembered as most painful; rather it is the inaction, the silence or the protection of whoever has sheltered them.

READ: We will get you, ICTR tells Felicien Kabuga


"To enable them to benefit from impunity might be the only assistance they need to plan or execute their next heinous crime,” he added.
Mr Busingye was referring to nine chief suspects of the Rwandan genocide who are still on the run.

The ICTR which was established by the UN Security Council was meant to track down and try suspects involved in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, where more than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in over 100 days.

The Tribunal indicted 93 people who included a Prime Minister, government ministers, military officials, journalists and clerics; convicting 61 of them. Fourteen suspects were acquitted. However, the nine suspects still on the run are the blot on the tribunals legacy.

They include former Defence Minister Augustin Bizimana thought to have been in control of weapons used to maim, Rwandan businessman Felicién Kabuga thought to have bankrolled the genocide.

Also on the run despite being indicted Protais Mpiranya, a Rwandan soldier who is thought to have helped train militia groups to exterminate the Tutsis.

“Let us remember that these are full-size human beings. They are not pins or grains of salt which disappear or melt. Some are hidden in plain sight, preaching the word of God to the faithful, treating patients in hospitals or engaged in various activities in various countries," Mr Busingye told a gathering.

Although he didn't mention host countries by name, Mr Kabuga was once rumoured to be hiding in Kenya, Mpirinya reportedly sought refuge in Zimbabwe while Bizimana was once spotted in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The three countries officially deny hosting these people.

Some country

When asked directly on whether Rwanda believes Kenya is hiding some of them, Mr Busingye answered in the negative but argued Rwanda is issuing a general call to anyone hiding them to surrender the suspects.

"These suspects are in some country and with the knowledge of that country or some individual in that country. That country is most likely a UN member state and is aware on the resolutions on the subject".

"We do not believe that Felicien Kabuga is anywhere just want anybody who is sheltering Felicien Kabuga to produce him so that he can have his day in justice,” he told journalists later in Arusha.

ICTR Prosecutor Hassan Boubacar Jallow argued the Tribunal was never expected to try all the suspects, but also called on the international community to help surrender the fugitives.

As the ICTR closes in Arusha, it means the remaining nine suspects will either be tried in Rwanda, in host countries or by an after-ICTR programme known as the Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals.