A Curse? No Country Wishes to Settle Rwanda’s Acquitted and Released Genocide Suspects

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ICTR officials are currently visiting different countries trying to convince them to take in the exonerated Rwandans.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is looking for countries to take in 14 people acquitted in Rwanda’s genocide trial.

“These people acquitted by the court, we need to find countries wiling to host them,” Bocar Sy, a spokesman for the court (which is based in the Tanzanian city of Arusha), told Anadolu Agency.

An ICTR delegation is currently in Uganda in hopes of convincing U.N. member states to host the acquitted Rwandan nationals.

“In the agreement we signed with Tanzania, no one should stay there after the closure of the tribunal – they should leave the country,” Sy said.

“Currently, we keep them in safe houses in Tanzania. We take care of all their needs, since they are under the responsibility of the ICTR,” he added.

ICTR Registrar Bongani Majola is currently visiting different countries trying to convince them to take in the exonerated Rwandans.

Although Rwanda is willing to welcome the exonerated men back, the latter have expressed concern regarding their safety should they return.

The ICTR was established by the U.N. Security Council in 1994 as a response to the tragic events that took place in Rwanda the same year.

No budget

The issue of relocation has now become urgent with the looming expiry of the ICTR’s mandate at the end of this year.

The tribunal has already encountered several obstacles in its attempts to relocate acquitted and released persons.

These challenges have been exacerbated by the fact that the ICTR’s statute – along with various U.N. Security Council resolutions that deal with the matter – do not place any obligations on member states to assist the tribunal in relocating acquitted persons and released convicts.

“The Security Council did not anticipate a situation where people who have been acquitted would still be stuck in Arusha,” Danford Mpumilwa, ICTR information officer, told AA.

“There is no budget that was allocated for them [acquitted persons] beyond the tribunal’s life span,” he added. “It wasn’t even contemplated that we would reach that stage, so that is our major problem.”

Mpumilwa says the ICTR has appealed to the Security Council for assistance.

In response, he added, the council had passed two resolutions urging member states to assist and cooperate with the tribunal.

“Unfortunately, the tribunal has not yet seen any positive results from these resolutions,” Mpumilwa told AA.

The ICTR earlier managed to relocate five convicted persons as soon as they had finished serving out their sentences.

englishnews@aa.com.tr

www.aa.com.tr/en – Kampala

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