Rwandan Genocide Marked With Call For Arrest And Prosecution Of Remaining Fugitives


By Newsroom America

Commemorating the anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the international community to do more to prevent such atrocities and encouraged Member States to expedite the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for the atrocities in the African nation.

At least 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were killed in 1994 during three months of bloodletting that followed the death of the then-president Juvenal Habyarimana.

“The United Nations is strongly committed to learning the lessons of Rwanda and helping the international community to prevent future tragedies,” the Secretary-General said after lighting candles in commemoration of the 19th anniversary of the genocide, observed annually on 7 April.

Mr Ban urged Governments to uphold their obligations under international law to prevent abuses and protect their populations from genocide and other crimes, and urged individuals to speak out forcefully whenever communities are threatened by mass atrocities, and condemn crimes when they are committed.

“Only by meeting these challenges can we truly honour the memory of those who died so brutally and so senselessly in Rwanda 19 years ago,” Mr Ban noted.

He added that this year’s special ceremony commemorates the innocent people murdered solely because of their identity, and urged support for the victims.

Among them, Virginie Ingabire, who survived the genocide along with her newborn baby brother and three-year-old sister, and spoke passionately about her personal experiences.

Mr Ban noted progress made in reconciliation through efforts by the Government of Rwanda and the fight against impunity through the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), as well as domestic courts.

Over the past 18 years, the ICTR, with cooperation of Rwanda and other Member States, indicted 93 persons for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Mr Ban encouraged the international community to expedite the arrest and prosecution of the remaining fugitives who perpetrated the genocide.

Source: � | f”Џ�_�” style=’outline: 0px;font-size:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-variant:inherit; font-weight:inherit;line-height:inherit’>Stanislas Mbanenande was indicted in November 2012 for genocide and other crimes. Mbanenande fled to Sweden after the genocide, where he was granted citizenship. The Swedish government decided that Mbanenande’s trial will be held in Sweden because he is a Swedish citizen, but that victims and witnesses will be questioned at the Kigali Supreme Court while the Swedish district court monitors the examinations through video link. This will be the first genocide trial before a Swedish court.

In Norway, Sadi Bugingo was convicted in February 2013 of complicity in the premeditated killings of at least 2,000 Tutsis, and was sentenced to 21 years in prison—the maximum he could get from a Norwegian court. Bugingo had lived in Norway since 2001, and was granted a residence permit in 2005. This trial was the first genocide case in a Norwegian court.

And in the Netherlands, on 1 March 2013 a Dutch court convicted Yvonne Basebya of inciting genocide, and sentenced her to six years and eight months in prison—the maximum available prison term at the time of the crimes. Basebya emigrated to the Netherlands in 1998, and gained citizenship in 2004. She is now the first Dutch citizen to be convicted of incitement to genocide in a Dutch court.

Some countries are also pursuing other kinds of criminal sanctions against alleged genocidaires. For example, the United States has prosecuted Rwandans emigrating to the country for lying on refugee and green card applications about their role in the genocide. In one recent case from February 2013, Beatrice Munyenyezi was convicted in a New Hampshire federal court for: (i) denying having any role in the genocide or affiliation with any political party at the time; and (ii) entering the U.S. unlawfully by making the same false statements on her refugee and green card applications. She will be sentenced in June 2013, and faces up to 10 years in prison. She was also stripped of her U.S. citizenship, and may be deported to Rwanda.

Separately, in the past year Rwanda has sought extradition of Rwandans from other countries to face prosecution in Rwanda—but with mixed success. For example, France has refused to extradite genocide suspects to Rwanda, fearing that they would be denied a fair trial. In one case from July 2012, the French High Court of Appeal ruled that Claude Muhayimana could not be extradited to Rwanda to face genocide-related charges, unless the lower French court verified that Muhayimana would receive the proper guarantees to a fair trial in Rwanda. However, other countries have extradited suspects to face charges in Rwanda. In February 2012 Canada deported Léon Mugesera to Rwanda, where his trial for genocide-related crimes began in December 2012. Even the European Court of Human Rights has weighed in on this issue; in 2011 it ruled that the extradition of a Rwandan genocide suspect to Rwanda to face trial would not violate the European Convention’s provisions concerning fair trial rights or its prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Domestic prosecution of genocide cases is becoming increasingly important because the mechanisms created to bring accountability for the Rwandan genocide are wrapping up their work. In June 2012, the Rwandan government announced that the gacaca courts had finished their work, and the ICTR is striving to complete its work by the end of 2014. The ICTR has even incorporated referral of its cases to domestic courts in its completion strategy. Under Rule 11bis of its Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the ICTR may refer an indicted case to another country for trial, as long as either: (i) the crime was committed in the territory of that country; (ii) the accused was arrested in that country; or (iii) the country otherwise has jurisdiction over the crime and is willing and “adequately prepared” to accept the case.

Using this provision, the ICTR has already transferred two indictees to Rwanda for trial in its regular courts. First, in 2011, the ICTR confirmed on appeal that the Rwandan judiciary had the capacity and independence to conduct national prosecutions, and that defendant Jean Uwinkindi could be transferred to Rwanda; he was transferred in April 2012. ICTR may transfer a second defendant, Bernard Munyagishari, to Rwanda in 2013. The ICTR has also transferred suspects to France under Rule 11bis.

These are just a handful of the many domestic prosecutions of those responsible for the 1994 Rwandan genocide. These cases are key to the fight against impunity: They help ensure that those who have not yet faced justice will eventually be held accountable, and serve as proof that justice may be delayed—but cannot be avoided.



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