Geno­cide against Tutsi: Why EA stands ac­cused

Rwanda says some 317 sus­pects a≥e ≥oam­ing f≥ee in the ≥egion, gove≥nments ≥eluc­tant to ext≥adite them to face jus­tice

The East African - - FRONT PAGE - By IVAN R MUGISHA The Eastafrican

Rwanda’s ef­forts to bring geno­cide fugi­tives to jus­tice faces its tough­est test close to home, with its neigh­bours be­ing the most slug­gish to de­port or ex­tra­dite iden­ti­fied sus­pects.

The East African Com­mu­nity and the Great Lakes re­gion har­bour the largest num­ber of fugi­tives.

There are 317 known geno­cide sus­pects in the EAC, rep­re­sent­ing about 35 per cent of the to­tal 911 fugi­tive in­dict­ments is­sued across the world.

Although a lot of em­pha­sis has been placed on fugi­tives roam­ing West­ern cap­i­tals in France, Bel­gium and USA, lit­tle progress has been made in ar­rest­ing the hun­dreds of fugi­tives wan­der­ing within East Africa.

Sta­tis­tics from the Geno­cide Fugi­tives Track­ing Unit show that of the 15 sus­pects who have so far been ex­tra­dited or de­ported to Rwanda from var­i­ous parts of the world, only three were from East Africa, and specif­i­cally Uganda.

Rwanda’s Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­eral Jean Bosco Mu­tan­gana told The Eastafrican that some of the neigh­bour­ing coun­tries just lack the re­sources to con­duct in­ves­ti­ga­tions and track the geno­cide sus­pects on their soil.

“I don’t think a coun­try can har­bour geno­cide fugi­tives for 24 years will­ingly. I spoke to many col­leagues in our neigh­bour­ing coun­tries and they cite the lack of re­sources,” he said.

He added that the fugi­tives are mainly known by false names and some are in busi­ness in the neigh­bour­ing economies.

Po­lit­i­cal and diplo­matic hos­til­i­ties have not helped the sit­u­a­tion, es­pe­cially be­tween Rwanda and neigh­bours like Bu­rundi and DRC, who have for long ex­pressed a lack of de­sire to co-op­er­ate with Ki­gali on sev­eral fronts.

“There is lack of po­lit­i­cal will to ei­ther pros­e­cute or ex­tra­dite geno­cide sus­pects by some coun­tries,” said John Bosco Si­boy­in­tore, head of the Geno­cide Fugi­tive Track­ing Unit, which is part of the Na­tional Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tion Au­thor­ity.

“It is also very dif­fi­cult to ex­tra­dite fugi­tives who ac­quired host coun­try’s cit­i­zen­ship, be­cause of the prin­ci­ple against ex­tra­dit­ing own cit­i­zens within laws of the host coun­tries.”

Mr Si­boy­in­tore added that sus­pects in the re­gion con­tin­u­ously change their names and ad­dresses to avoid be­ing tracked.

DRC hosts the largest num­ber of known geno­cide fugi­tives — with 303 in­dict­ments — while France, with 42, has the high­est out­side Africa.

Uganda hosts the se­cond largest num­ber of geno­cide sus­pects in the EAC, with 242 in­dict­ments is­sued as of April 2018. Fugi­tives Au­gus­tine Nkund­abazungu and Jean Pierre Kwitonda were de­ported from Uganda in 2010, and Jean Paul Birind­abagabo in 2015. They were sen­tenced to life in prison, but Mr Kwitonda and Mr Birind­abagabo have pend­ing ap­peals.

Tan­za­nia, which hosts the se­cond largest num­ber of sus­pected geno­cide fugi­tives in the EAC — with 31 in­dict­ments — has not ini­ti­ated a sin­gle de­por­ta­tion.

Kenya and Bu­rundi each have 30 and 14 known sus­pects re­spec­tively.

Kenya is re­ported to be home to one of the top three geno­cide fugi­tives — Felicien Kabuga — but has de­nied it.

“We cur­rently can­not put a fin­ger on where fugi­tives like Kabuga are hid­ing be­cause they keep chang­ing lo­ca­tions and iden­ti­ties. But ef­forts are on­go­ing to bring them to jus­tice and we have put to­gether a team to re­alise this goal,” Serge Bram­mertz, Chief Pros­e­cu­tor of the Mech­a­nism for In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Tri­bunals, said in Fe­bru­ary dur­ing his visit to Rwanda.

But Rwanda is con­fi­dent that the tide will soon change in its favour, af­ter law en­forcers and pros­e­cu­tors from the re­gion signed an agree­ment in Fe­bru­ary to curb na­tional and transna­tional crimes.

“We met in Nairobi as di­rec­tors of pros­e­cu­tion and crime in­ves­ti­ga­tors and signed an agree­ment that will en­hance co-oper­a­tion against na­tional and transna­tional crimes. I am op­ti­mistic that this level of part­ner­ship will be shared at the high­est po­lit­i­cal level,” Mr Mu­tan­gana said.

It is dif­fi­cult to ex­tra­dite fugi­tives who ac­quired the host coun­try’s cit­i­zen­ship.” Bosco Si­boy­in­tore, head of the Geno­cide Fugi­tive Track­ing Unit

Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials, the geno­cide sus­pects have proved elu­sive, al­ter­ing their names and ac­quir­ing new travel doc­u­ments to avoid be­ing ar­rested.

Last week, Philippe Hategeki­mana, one of the most wanted geno­cide fugi­tives, was ar­rested in Yaoundé, Cameroon. He had al­tered his name to Philippe Manier and ob­tained French cit­i­zen­ship, thereby elud­ing ar­rest for 24 years.

An in­ter­na­tional ar­rest war­rant had been is­sued last year af­ter Rwan­dan au­thor­i­ties got wind that he was alive and in hid­ing. Mr Hategeki­mana, whose fate is yet to be deter­mined, whether he will be sent to France or Rwanda, is wanted for geno­cide crimes and crimes against hu­man­ity.

A for­mer po­lice of­fi­cer, pre­vi­ously known as Gen­der­merie, Mr Hategeki­mana is re­ported to have mounted road blocks and or­dered killings in Ntyazo, Nyabisindu and Rusatira for­merly in Butare Pre­fec­ture in the cur­rent south­ern prov­ince. Rwanda has called for him to be ex­tra­dited.

In other cases, Ki­gali says some coun­tries are not re­spon­sive while oth­ers lack the good­will to try or ex­tra­dite. Rwanda has been push­ing the UK to try or ex­tra­dite wanted geno­cide sus­pects in­clud­ing Vin­cent Ba­jinya, Ce­lestin Mutabaruka, Ce­lestin Ugi­rashe­buja, Charles Mun­yaneza and Em­manuel Nteziryayo to no avail.

Other sus­pects be­lieved to be in the re­gion are Kanamugire Callixte Supa aka Kanani John, Rwamfizi In­no­cent, Rukundo Alexis Fisto, Ayabagabo Daniel, Nkek­abera Gas­par, Gat­era Jean Bosco aka Ru­tambi Nkubana Jerome, Mwum­vaneza Jeremie all sus­pected to be in Uganda; Ru­san­ganwa Gas­pard, Ru­ber­abahizi Venuste, Bakiye Jean Ber­ch­mans, Baravuga Lau­rent, Gatabazi Venuste, Gakuba Theodor, Mayira Thadee, Mbarubuk­eye Jean, Ndayam­baje Sixbert Alias Soso, Mura­g­izi Gabriel, be­lieved to be in the DRC; Ru­dakubana Mar­tin sus­pected to be in Cen­tral Africa Repub­lic, Hiti­mana Pan­cras be­lieved to be in Kenya; Uwimana Isaie aka Gacumba sus­pected to be in Bu­rundi. Oth­ers in­clude Féli­cien Kabuga, Pro­tais Mpi­ranya, Au­gustin Biz­imana, Ful­gence Kay­ishema, Charles Sikub­wabo, Aloys Ndim­bati, Charles Ryandikayo, Phénéas Mun­yaru­garama, In­no­cent Bagabo, Esper­ance Kar­w­era Mutwe, Jean Marie Vian­ney Kage­m­ana, Thadee Kwitonda, Em­manuel Kay­i­hura, Lan­douald Kara­m­age, Enock Kayondo, Callixte Kanamugire, Dr Vin­cent Ba­jinya, Célestin Ugar­ishe­buja,

Pic­ture: AFP

Top level Rwan­dan geno­cide sus­pect Ladis­las Nta­ganzwa is es­corted by po­lice of­fi­cers upon his ar­rival in Ki­gali, in March 2016 af­ter his ar­rest in the DRC.

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