KIGALI - Despite recent remarks by Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga that Felicien Kabuga, the most wanted genocide fugitive is likely not to be in Kenya, the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR) insists that he is still in the country.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, the ICTR Chief Prosecutor Hassan Boubacar Jallow said that Kenyan immigration authorities have failed to present the ICTR with documented evidence indicating when Kabuga left Kenya.
Jallow said there is no doubt following joint investigations by the ICTR and Kenyan Police that when Kabuga left Rwanda in 1994 he entered Kenya.
He also managed to get permits to live in Kenya, own property and to carry on his incorporated businesses and has been cited many times.
“All that is documented in official government records in Kenya and all these we have been able to access. Where is he now? The Kenyan Government through the Director of Immigration informed us in writing last year that he had left the Kenya.”
“Since then we have been asking Kenyan authorities to provide us with information concerning the circumstances of his reported departure; when did he leave and from which point in Kenya? Where did he go and what kind of documentation did he use?” Jallow said.
He said that for the last one year the Kenyan government has failed to provide the information and answers to the questions despite several reminders.
“The cooperation of Kenya was there initially in terms of joint investigations but they have suddenly ceased to cooperate with us in terms of providing us with any evidence to back their claim that he has left the country,” Jallow added.
The ICTR Chief Prosecutor said that he was optimistic that Kabuga and other top genocide fugitives including Augustin Bizimana, Fulgence Kayishema and Protais Mpiranya will be arrested and charged before the ICTR mandate comes to an end.
“Kabuga and the rest of the fugitives will be arrested, they will not escape justice, we are not a permanent court----even when the tribunal closes, the Security Council will put in place mechanism to ensure that these people are tried,” Jallow said.
Jallow said that the ICTR is aware of the location of the 3 most wanted fugitives but could not reveal the places they are hiding.
The Prosecutor said that Rwanda has made a number of reforms in its judicial sector that would eventually be relied upon to transfer some cases from ICTR to Rwanda. He said that the country is at good working terms with the Arusha-based tribunal.
Meanwhile the ICTR President Judge Denis Bylon who was also in the country for the closure of the 5th Colloquium of Prosecutors said that the tribunal expected to close shop in 2013 will aim at completing current cases by the second half of 2011 and appeals by 2013.
“We are still in a difficult position with 11 fugitives remaining and here we will call on the international community to help us,” Judge Bylon said.
As the 3 day colloquium ended, the prosecutors from different UN tribunals through the “Kigali Declaration” vowed to reiterate the need to combat impunity.