Monday, 14 May 2012

Rwanda | ICTR convicts three genocide suspects

As the activities of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) come to the closure in July 2012, the court on May 8 convicted three genocide suspects for their role in the 1994 genocide that claimed over 800.000 lives in Rwanda.
The Criminal Tribunal affirmed a 30-year prison term for Gaspard Kanyarukiga, 35-year prison term for Major Aloys Ntabakuze and a life term for Lieutenant Ildephonse Hategekimana.
Both Ntabakuze and Hategekimana had earlier on in 2001 been sentenced to life on charges of crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes.
Both Maj. Ntabakuze and Hategekimana served as high-ranking members in the former Rwandan army who headed military services in Kigali and Butare respectively, under the regime of Juvenal Habyarimana). The two were both charged for genocide; however court reduced the earlier sentence of Major Ntabakuze, after finding no proof on his involvement in ordering of killings in Kabeza, in Kigali
While Kanyarukiga, a former businessman in ex-Kibuye province, was convicted by ICTR appeal court for his role in the destruction of Nyange Catholic church that led to the deaths of roughly 2,000 people who had sought refuge inside the church building.
Apparently Washington welcomed the convictions of three individuals accused of genocide in Rwanda but lamented several fugitives were still at large. Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, was quoted saying that Washington welcomes the verdicts and believes Ntabakuze’s reversal indicated the tribunal followed a balanced judicial process.
In a statement Nuland said that there are still nine ICTR fugitives at-large and the United States urges all countries to redouble their cooperation with the ICTR so that these fugitives can be expeditiously brought to justice.
Some of the most sought Rwandan genocide suspects remain at large include; Felicien Kabuga, the suspected chief financier of the Genocide, who has been hunted for years by the ICTR, Protais Mpiranya, the former commandant of the President Guard and the former Minister of Defence, Augustin Bizimana among others.
The US has put a five million dollar bounty is on the head of each of the suspects, key architects of the Genocide. All the suspects on the Reward for Justice Programme are fugitives indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
Rwanda’s Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga welcomed the renewed call of the USA on the arrest of genocide fugitives. Ngoga stated that this programme has helped the ICTR to apprehend several fugitives- and four fugitives have been arrested since the programme was introduced, and have all been transferred to the tribunal.

Ngoga however, asked the US to speed up processes of apprehending several indicted fugitives living on the US territory.
The ICTR will be transferred to the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunal (IRMCT) in Arusha effective July 1st 2012, which has also raised doubts whether the UN Court will nab the said suspect before this deadline.


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