KIGALI - The head of the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), Jean de Dieu Mucyo has called for action to be taken against officials of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) who bribe witnesses.
In an interview with The New Times, Mucyo said that ICTR defence lawyers have accomplices in Rwanda who either bribe witnesses or intimidate them, forcing them to give testimonies in favour of those accused.
“These things have been happening. We are getting reports that there are people coming here and asking witnesses who had earlier testified to retract their statements in court,” Mucyo said.
According to Mucyo, those targeted are Prosecution witnesses who are asked to change their testimonies and those convicted by Gacaca courts who are taken to give false evidence in Arusha.
“They are promised many things on reaching Arusha. They assure them that they will be taken abroad and that they won’t return to Rwanda,” he added.
He warned that unless the Police, the National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) and ICTR take action against the perpetrators, this would serve as a setback to delivering justice to Genocide suspects who are still being tried at the tribunal.
In a separate interview, Prosecution Spokesperson Augustine Nkusi said he was not aware of this case, adding that no survey has been done to ascertain the reports.
“All I know is that even here; the management of witnesses is not a simple task. But the Police could be knowledgeable about this since they have more capacity than we do to investigate crimes,” Nkusi said.
When contacted, Police Spokesperson Eric Kayiraga said that the Police had not received any particular case on witnesses being bribed.
“We are going to find out more on that,” Kayiraga said.
This is not the first time that such cases are reported to be happening.
A witness last year testified to the tribunal on having received up-keep allowance for her family from an ICTR defence investigator Leonidas Nshogoza before she had traveled to Arusha.
The witness, dubbed “A7” to protect her identity for security reasons, revealed that she and, another protected witness codenamed “GAA”, received money from Nshogoza in Kigali before they traveled to retract their testimonies.