Former ICTR convicts stranded in Arusha

Published by The Citizen
On 14 September 2016 saa 05:47
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Some genocide convicts of the former International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) are still stranded after serving their jail sentences.

Many of them are in Arusha having failed to get countries in which they can take refuge. They have declined to return to Rwanda fearing reprisals.

A source close to Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunal (MICT) which replaced the Rwandan Tribunal after the latter closed shop on December 31 last year, said at least 11 of the former fugitives are still staying in a ‘safe house’ in Arusha.

Eight of them were acquitted by ICTR and three were freed after serving their sentences.

The sources added that several countries have been approached by the former Tribunal to host the persons but none has accepted.

ICTR was set up by the United Nations Security Council through Resolution No. 955 of November 8th 1994 to hunt down fugitives of the Rwanda genocide perpetrated against Tutsi.

Since it started trials in 1997 until its closure last December, the Tribunal had convicted 61 suspects and acquitted 14 others, of whom only six have found host countries.

Sources privy to trials in UN Tribunals said although the former fugitives were still homeless, they were not allowed to travel out of Arusha, one reason being that they don’t possess travelling documents.

“They are only living here through special permits of the UN. They can only secure travelling documents from their country, that is, Rwanda,” a former official of the disbanded Tribunal said.

Despite closing down, a hunt for six fugitives who are suspected to be the perpetrators of the Rwanda genocide is still going on. They include Felicien Kabuga, a former Rwandan businessman who has a $ 5 million price tag (Sh11 billion) placed on his head.

The others are Pheneas Munyarugarama, Fulgence Kayishema, Charles Sikuwabo, one Ryandikayo and Aloys Ndimbati. Once they are arrested they would also be transferred to Kigali because the Tribunal has closed shop.

The last judgement of ICTR was held on December 14th last year at its rented premises at the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) which have also hosted MICT.

The majority of those indicted were high ranking military and government officials, politicians, businessmen, religious, and militia and media leaders.

At the peak of its business, ICTR employed about 1,500 staff, many of them from outside the country.

Former ICTR convicts stranded in Arusha