EDITORIAL: Survivors should continue pinning genocidaires on their heinous acts

A Civil Society Organisation, Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda (CPCR), has filed to the French judiciary yet another petition to have a Genocide fugitive on French soil brought to account for the crimes he committed in Rwanda almost 24 years ago.

A Civil Society Organisation, Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda (CPCR), has filed to the French judiciary yet another petition to have a Genocide fugitive on French soil brought to account for the crimes he committed in Rwanda almost 24 years ago.

Like dozens others, Michel Bakuzakundi continues to enjoy safe haven in France despite his role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and it is not surprising.

France did not become a haven for genocidaires by mistake. It is one of the means to continue to hide its glaring complicit in the Genocide in which over a million innocent lives were lost within just 100 days.

The European country has not only remained the protecting godfather to the Genocide perpetrators, but also made sure they continued comfortably with their lives, despite the despicable atrocities they committed back home.

Some of these fugitives have continued to preside over masses as Roman Catholic priests –in the case of Wenceslas Munyeshyaka – while others have picked up tools and continued their vocations as doctors, among others.

With dozens of indicted fugitives living in France, against whom preliminary investigations were concluded and their indictments handed to French authorities, only one suspect – Pascal Simbikangwa – was tried and convicted.

Two others were tried but the case is pending an appeal process.

Over 40 fugitives living in France have been indicted and, basing on available evidence, a prima facie case was established.

Suffice to say, among these fugitives, some were indicted by the now-closed UN-backed International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which, after a futile attempt to have them extradited to its seat in Arusha, Tanzania, referred their cases to France.

Two cases – Wenceslas Munyeshyaka and Laurent Bucyibaruta – were referred to France by the ICTR in 2007 but over 10 years down the road, nothing has been done to bring them to book.

The frustration by survivors echoed through CPCR that most have continued to drag their feet in bringing forth testimonies pinning any new suspect unearthed by the organisation, is therefore understandable.

However, it is very important that they continue coming forth to testify against those responsible for the heinous crimes.

Equally, groups like CPCR, and, Rwanda’s prosecution office through the Genocide Fugitives Tracking Unit, should maintain momentum for one thing is for sure, truth will eventually prevail, it is just a matter of time.

 

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