[editorial] The UN should rethink the MICT strategy, it has become irrelevant

When the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT came into force in 2012, eight indicted Genocide suspects were still at large.

When the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT came into force in 2012, eight indicted Genocide suspects were still at large.

MICT took the residual functions from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) which was created at the end of 1994 to bring to justice those responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Over a million people lost their lives in the country-wide carnage that began on April 6 1994.

The ICTR 20-year legacy was marred by stumbling, inefficiency, nepotism and holiday club-like lifestyle at its seat in Arusha, northern Tanzania. However, whatever its shortcomings, the ICTR at least helped bring the reality of the Genocide to the world.

So, a question remains; what is the role of MICT and how useful is it? The files of five of the eight fugitives were transferred to Rwanda and the mechanism remained with three “star” files. The most notorious is that of Felicien Kabuga, regarded as the financer of the Genocide and who has used his vast wealth to evade capture.

The others are former head of the Presidential Guard, Major Protais Mpiranya, and former Minister of Defence, Augustin Bizimana.

The above three are the raison d’être of MICT. This vindicates allegations that the UN system is a leaking wasteful vessel. Where is the financial logic of spending millions on account of only three fugitives who might never even be found? Why can’t the MICT simply transfer them to national jurisdictions and close its gates?

Whether today MICT’s main occupation is tracking fugitives, it is irrelevant, national security agents can do it just as well if not better, but they would have to be brought on board and made to understand the importance of working with haste and diligence in tracking fugitives.

 

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