The double standards in tracking mass murderers

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Clothes and other belongings of Genocide victims at Ntarama Catholic Church-turned memorial in Bugesera. (File)

Editor,

RE:Third Genocide fugitive in New Zealand unmasked” (The New Times, January 4).

I wish to compare how Israel and United States have tracked and apprehended the Nazi fugitives and 9-11 conspirators.

One of the most famous Nazi war criminals was Adolf Eichmann. He initially conceived the “Madagascar Plan” whose aim was to relocate the approximately 6 million Jewish population of Europe to the island of Madagascar in Africa (chillingly similar to the infamous Bugesera relocation of the Tutsi by genocidal regimes).

The assumption was the Jews would succumb to the harsh conditions in Madagascar once relocated. Later on, though, he fully supported Adolf Hitler’s “Final Solution”—an extermination plan of the Jews.

Mr. Eichmann was in charge of the methodical and precise organization of the plan, from rounding up the Jews, to train transportation, to setting up the extermination camps. The Nazi fugitives in 1948 all took advantage of “rat trails”—a support system of escape in Europe from the Allied Forces that ended the World War II.

A chilling similarity to Operation Turquoise in Rwanda where Genocide fugitives escaped with the help of French forces to former Zaire. The Nazi fugitives found refuge in mostly South America, especially in Argentina under President Juan Peron, who granted them identities and citizenship.

23 years after World War II in 1961, Israel’s Mossad, aided by an active Jewish underground movement, arranged the kidnapping and deportation to Israel of Adolf Eichmann who had now taken an alias of Ricardo Klement. Mr. Eichmann’s identity was unmasked when a Holocaust survivor’s daughter started dating his son and the person alerted the Mossad.

This cold-blooded killer was tried and hung in under 9 months, the only hanging ever in Israel.

In the US, the suspects of the 9-11 attacks affiliated to Al-Qaeda were 19 who died in the attacks. Five other co-conspirators were arrested within 2 years of the terrorist attack and 15 years later, their trials have yet to start amidst political storms amongst various groups in the US.

Ten years after dodging the US, Osama bin Laden was killed in a dramatic style with his death raising (mainly) cheers and applause in the US. In retaliation for the 3,000 deaths, US has gone on to annihilate the entire organization of Al-Qaeda/ISIS, barring aside the many conspiracy theories available. The world has lost count and eventually numbed by the sheer number of Al-Qaeda/ISIS leaders frequently killed.

Back to Rwanda: the 632 Rwanda Genocide fugitives mentioned in the article is quite a number. The Police has issued 300 Interpol Red Alert notices (meaning arrest on sight) but only about 100 of this number have been captured and tried in Arusha, respective host countries or Rwanda.

It is worth noting the remaining 300 fugitives who are not on Interpol Red Alert list, therefore one has to appreciate the effort of the Genocide Tracking Unit of following the painstakingly bureaucratic process of seeking extradition treaties with countries.

Many of the arrested fugitives are now in their mid-sixties and therefore the window to catch up with them is short.

Looking at the above, one feels President Kagame’s often strongly expressed frustration at the snail pace of catching Genocide fugitives using established international means. He remarks often at how the international wheels of justice turn painstakingly slow for African countries but quite fast (and often ignored) when western countries are involved.

Kigali Girl