Releasing Ngeze and co. opens a new wound for Genocide survivors, trauma expert says

Ngeze Hassan. File.

The UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) should heed the voices of victims, survivors and foot soldiers and reject the request for early release of three Genocide convicts.

This is the submission by   Dr. Yael Danieli, a New York-based Clinical Psychologist, who specialises in intergenerational trauma, and it is part of the statement submitted by the government of Rwanda to the UN court.

A stamp from the Tanzania-based court shows the document was received on Monday this week.

The statement is an objection to the early release of three genocide masterminds; Aloys Simba, Hassan Ngeze and Dominique Ntawukuriryayo.

The trio is serving varying sentences rendered by the former International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which has since been replaced by MICT.

“I strenuously urge MICT to heed the voices of the victims and also the voices of a rescuer and a ('foot soldier') genocidaire who did admit his guilt and served his sentence in full,” Danieli said, cautioning the UN court against releasing the convicts.

The expert noted that victims and survivors of the three genocide convicts “uniformly attest that releasing these genocidaires will be a new wound to them by diminishing their losses and pain, thus undermining their sense of justice”.

The statement was filed on behalf of the Government of Rwanda by Johnston Busingye, the Minister for Justice and Attorney General.

Busingye argues that releasing the convicts before they complete their sentence would painfully offend genocide survivors who are already immensely suffering from their genocide crimes and would represent a failure of international justice.

“These prisoners stand convicted of genocide crimes that offend all standards of humanity, morality and decency. Their victims and survivors are in the millions, and the harm they inflicted on Rwanda and Rwandans continues almost 25 years later. For reasons set forth herein, the Government of Rwanda respectfully submits that they should not be granted early release and their applications should be dismissed,” he said.

In his application against the release of the convicts, Busingye also submitted survivors and experts’ testimonies about the gravity of each of the convicts’ crimes.

The testimonies include personal accounts of how the survivors suffered and lost members of their families at the hands of the perpetrators, prosecutors’ works on their cases, and a clinical psychologist’s opinion about the negative impact the early releases would cause.

Overall, government is concerned that the convicts’ freedom would inflict more suffering to the survivors of the genocide and will discourage the on-going efforts at reconciliation in the country.

“The primary factor to be considered when reviewing a prisoner's application for early release is ‘the gravity of the offense’. These prisoners have all been convicted of genocide crimes, which, purely on their face, are the gravest and most serious crimes and matters that constitute an affront to humanity,” the Attorney General said in the statement handed to the court.

After interviewing the convicts’ surviving victims and a rescuer who participated in the killings, Danieli concluded that MICT needs to consider their voices and decide against releasing the convicts.

The expert noted that victims and survivors of the three genocide convicts “uniformly attest that releasing these genocidaires will be a new wound to them by diminishing their losses and pain, thus undermining their sense of justice”.

The court, under its President, Theodor Meron, has so far released early 14 Genocide convicts, many of whom have taken to openly denying the very Genocide for which they were convicted.

About the applicants

The three latest applicants for early release were convicted for heinous genocide crimes.

Aloys Simba was convicted of genocide, having distributed weapons to attackers at Murambi Technical School and Kaduha Parish in the current Southern Province where at both places armed men at his direction used the weapons to terrorize and slaughter hundreds of Tutsi civilians.

Dominique Ntawukuriryayo was convicted of aiding and abetting genocide for having abused his position of authority as a sub-prefect to deceive Tutsi civilians into believing that Kabuye Hill in the current Gisagara District would be a place of refuge, when instead he knew it would be a site at which hundreds would be exterminated en masse.

Hassan Ngeze was convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity (extermination) for having owned, run and been the editor-in-chief of Kangura, an anti-Tutsi publication that became one of the genocidaires’ most vicious and effective means of inciting violence against the Tutsi, culminating in the Genocide against the Tutsi.

The three convicts submitted their requests for early release between 2016 (Ntawukulilyayo) and March this year for Ngeze.

But none of their filings have been so far presented to the Government of Rwanda by the court despite Rwanda’s request to see them following the court’s request for the government’s opinion about the applications.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

Have Your SayLeave a comment

Consider AlsoFurther Articles