In reaction to the announcement on Thursday 12th may 2022, IRMCT Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz stated that accounting for the last of the major ICTR fugitives – Protais Mpiranya – is an important step forward in the court’s continued efforts to achieve justice for the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Mpiranya was a feared and notorious fugitive, leader of the Presidential Guard during the Genocide and later a top commander in the FDLR.
Prosecutor Brammertz has revealed that confirming his death provides the solace of knowing that he cannot cause further harm.
He went on to explain that the results of this investigation are also a testament to the United Nations’ relentless pursuit of accountability for those indicted for the most serious crimes.
"Nearly three decades after the Genocide, my Office continues to track fugitives and prosecute our remaining cases, like the trial of Felicien Kabuga, while also giving our support to national prosecutions in Rwanda and elsewhere," Brammertz noted.
He also extended gratitude to partners whose contributions were essential.
"The Government of Rwanda continues to be among our strongest supporters and played an important role in this investigation. Law enforcement agencies and prosecution services from Belgium, France, Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zimbabwe and elsewhere also provided assistance.
My Office would like to further recognize again the excellent forensic support provided by the Netherlands Forensic Institute, which conducted the DNA analysis of Mpiranya’s remains," said Brammertz.
As Commander of the Presidential Guard, Mpiranya was indicted by the ICTR in 2000, which was made public in 2002. He was charged with eight counts of genocide, complicity in genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Notably, he was charged with responsibility for the murders of senior Rwandan leaders at the start of the genocide, including Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana, the President of the Constitutional Court, the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Information. He was also charged with the murders of ten Belgian United Nations peacekeepers during that same period.
Following a challenging and intensive investigation, the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) has determined that Mpiranya died on 5th October 2006 in Harare, Zimbabwe.
After the publication of the ICTR indictment against him, Mpiranya fled to Zimbabwe in late 2002, where he resided until his death.
The OTP also maintained that Mpiranya’s presence in Zimbabwe, and later the fact of his death, were deliberately concealed by the concerted efforts of his family and associates, including up to the present.
Mpiranya becomes the second Genocide fugitive confirmed dead after Augustin Bizimana (who served as the former Minister of Defence) was confirmed dead in the recent past.