In whose interest is ICTR working?

Once again we have acquittals of two well known architects of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, pronounced within a space of two days. By acquitting Protais Zigiranyirazo, a key member of “Akazu” the tribunal is setting itself up for an indecent legacy, in which, eventually the role of the key planners will be systematically watered down.

Once again we have acquittals of two well known architects of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, pronounced within a space of two days.

By acquitting Protais Zigiranyirazo, a key member of “Akazu” the tribunal is setting itself up for an indecent legacy, in which, eventually the role of the key planners will be systematically watered down.

The fact that Mr Z himself was shocked by the acquittal, lives nothing to imagination: the man knew very well his hands were dripping with blood.

‘Akazu” was an informal organization of extremists constituting the inner circle of former President Juvenal Habyarimana and his influential wife Agathe Habyarimana , who were key architects of the genocide against Tutsi.

Much as Rwandans and especially survivors of the Genocide would want to respect the ruling of any court of law, it baffles many when such suspects whose acts and intentions are well documented, are let off the hook.

Therefore, one may wonder what kind of legacy the tribunal wants to leave behind, bearing in mind that it is remaining with only one year to close shop.

To the Rwandan people, it was disappointing enough that the Trial Chamber had sentenced Mr Z to 20 years of imprisonment, but it added salt to an injury when the appellate court overturned the initial court ruling.

Indeed, with no prejudice to a judicial process, Zigiranyirazo deserved not less than life sentence, given the documented crimes he committed.

The same can be said of the catholic priest Hormisdas Nsengimana whose responsibility in the planning of the killing of his students in the Southern Province is well known.

The acquittals, plus the court’s reluctance to transfer the cases to Rwanda simply leaves Rwandans asking themselves; whose interest is the court serving?  

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