Rwanda condemns early release of Col Aloys Simba, a genocide convict

By Samson Iradukunda
On 18 January 2019 at 10:57

Rwanda has protested the early release of Col. Aloys Simba who was sentenced to 25 year imprisonment after he was found guilty by the International Criminal Court of Rwanda (ICTR) of genocide and crimes against humanity. He has been released in secret in utter lack of transparency eight years before ending his sentence, the Government of Rwanda has said.

In 2016, Col. Always Simba requested for his early release as he had ended the 2/3 of his sentence.

However, the Government of Rwanda opposed his request as it would be against interests of genocide survivors.

In its submission to the Mechanism, Rwanda provided a detailed opinion from an expert in the trauma of genocide victims, who personally interviewed some survivors and reviewed statements from others.

She described how Simba’s release would cause untold trauma for survivors of Kaduha Parish and the Murambi Technical School, where children saw their parents murdered, and parents saw their children murdered. "But Judge Meron somehow overlooked all of this to offer Simba leniency."

According to a statement released by the Ministry of Justice on Thursday, Judge Theodor Meron who was President of International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT) released [Aloys] Simba with utter lack of transparency and the release occurred last week in secret.

The statement says that Judge Meron has yet to make his order public, and he shielded it for days from the rest of the Mechanism. Rwanda was also kept in the dark. Such unchecked, underhanded unilateralism has no place in the administration of international law.

“Judge Meron is aware of Simba’s responsibility for the massacre of more than 40,000 Tutsi children, women and men at Murambi Technical School. Likewise, he knows that at Kaduha Parish, Simba put traditional weapons, guns and grenades into the hands of mass murderers and ordered them to “get rid of this filth” before they converted what should have been a place of refuge into a human slaughterhouse,” it says.

“He should have served his entire prison term,” the statement notes.

Judge Meron was named by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres as President of the UNNICT for an additional six months mandate slated to end on January 18th, 2019.

The Government of Rwanda says that during his tenure as President of the MICT, “Judge Meron has consistently reversed convictions, considerably reduced sentences on appeal, and released early genocidaires responsible for the worst massacres with no regard for the victims and survivors.”

In his last days as President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, the statement says, Judge Meron cemented his legacy of undermining international criminal justice by releasing Aloys Simba in the dark of night, eight years before the end of his sentence.

The Government of Rwanda says it cannot know whether Judge Meron released Mr. Simba for health concerns, something the Government of Rwanda might not necessarily oppose. “Kept in the dark, however, it cannot know whether this is the case.”

The Government of Rwanda urges the next President to take more seriously the law and the facts, when reviewing applications for early release.

“We likewise urge the next President to operate in an open and transparent manner, so that the Government of Rwanda and others with an interest in the cases pending before the MICT have notice and a reasonable opportunity to respond to pleadings and orders,”

Col. Aloys Simba, 81, served as Presidential Advisor on Security in former Gikongoro and Butare Prefectures before the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.

Rwanda accuses Judge Theodor Meron of undermining international criminal justice during his tenure as President of the MICT