Controversial judge seeks contract extension in UN

By Ferdinand Maniraguha & Rabbi Malo Umucunguzi
On 30 January 2018 at 12:01

The US judge, Theodor Meron who has been accused of taking controversial decisions on Genocide against the Tutsi convicts has filed a new application requesting UN to add him a new term as the president of International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (UNMICT).

Meron has used his power and freed, reduced sentences and acquitted different people who were convicted for their role in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi by International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

The recent controversial decisions by the judge include freeing of Ferdinand Nahimana one of founders of hate radio, Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) and Father Emmanuel Rukundo who was a Military Chaplain in Northern region. Both had been sentenced to 30 and 23 years respectively.

According to Meron, the decision to free both men based on the reason that they had completed 2/3 of their term in prison and exhibited good change. This led to ten people who were freed among 61 who had been convicted and sentenced by ICTR.

Besides all controversial decisions, Meron has filed for renewal of his mandate which will end in June.

Meron 88, was first appointed the president of MICT on March 1st 2012 and his term was extended to March 1st 2016 and will end in June.

MICT is made up with 25 judges elected by UN General Assembly for the four-year term; their term is extended by Secretary General after concerting UN Security Council President and the UN president of the General Assembly.

The National Commission for the Fight Against the Genocide (CNLG) has recently requested to discredit Judge Meron over different decision that seemed like the 1994 Genocide against the Tusti denial.

Also Meron acquitted different genocide planners including Protais Zigiranyirazo, Justin Mugenzi, Prosper Mugiraneza, Gen. Augustin Ndindiriyimana and Major François Xavier Nzuwonemeye.

In appeal Chamber, Meron also reduced sentences to Colonel Théoneste Bagosora who had been given life sentence by ICTR to 35 years in prison.

He reduced sentences for Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva and Capt. Ildefonse Nizeyimana. Nsengiyumva was released after serving his term. He is considered as the mastermind of the group that led the planning and execution of genocide in former Gisenyi Prefecture.

The Umbrella for Genocide Survivors (IBUKA) has appealed to UN to conduct investigations on Meron’s decisions over genocide suspects.

Through the letter to UN in December last year, IBUKA said “The international community failed to protect Rwandans during the Genocide against the Tusti yet it had its mission present in the country, today there’s an attempt, through international justice, to minimize the gravity of the genocide by releasing its top architects,”.

The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals is mandated to perform a number of essential functions previously carried out by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)