EDITORIAL: Genocidaires should not be given respite

Sweden has fulfilled its international obligations by again bringing to justice another Genocide suspect who had been holed up in that country before being unmasked.

Sweden has fulfilled its international obligations by again bringing to justice another Genocide suspect who had been holed up in that country before being unmasked.

Claver Berinkindi was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison for his active participation in the slaughter of countless people in Butare, now in the Southern Province, during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

It was in that vein of pursuing the quest of justice of the over one million victims, that in 2013, Sweden convicted another genocidaire, Stanislas Mbanenande.

Unfortunately, few other countries that harbour Genocide suspects have shown reluctance to travel that route.

There seems to be a complete disconnect with the extent of the Genocide among many. They look at it as just any other incident of violence that will be overtaken by another on the front pages or in news bulletins. Then life continues.

That is exactly what Judge Theodore Meron, the former president of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) – (now Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, MICT) – is doing when he unilaterally grants early releases for some of the most ruthless criminals.

There is no putting into consideration the gravity of the crimes or the effect on the victims. Even the visiting Prosecutor of the MICT, Dr Serge Brammertz, seems to concur.

Granting parole to violent criminals requires set conditions, and widespread consultations, but Judge Meron prefers to play the lone ranger.

What comforts survivors of the Genocide is that even after more than two decades, perpetrators are being smoked out of their hiding places and brought to face justice. That is consolation enough but the fight to hunt the remaining fugitives should not wane; they should not be given breathing space.

 

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