Last week, five people were arrested by Rwandan authorities at the request of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT).
They were part of an elaborate plot to coerce witnesses to give false testimony on behalf of Augustin Ngirabatware, a former Planning Minister in Rwanda before and during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Ngirabatware is serving a 30-year sentence for genocide and crimes against humanity. Two years ago, he successfully filed a request to have his appeal judgment reviewed in face of “new evidence” that had suddenly come up.
That is where the equation of the five people arrested in Rwanda comes in; they were in charge of the “new evidence” and it is dangerous ground. The court decision expected at the end of the month will come under great scrutiny and if Ngirabatware is successful, it will open a floodgate for other convicts to seek a review of their trials.
They will not hesitate to buy false testimony, therefore there is need for the government to request to be part of the review, not leaving to the decision to Judge Theodor Meron and his team alone. Meron has a penchant of having a soft spot for the Genocide convicts, many of whom he has unilaterally granted early releases.
The convicts’ new weapon is a sudden rekindling of fresh memory; new evidence suddenly coming up. All they need is having someone like Meron on their side and they will be soon walking freely.
This is a call to everyone; to make sure that justice is not defeated they should be fully engaged so that good triumphs over evil.