All Genocide fugitives will be brought to book no matter how long it takes, Chief Justice Sam Rugege has said.
Prof Rugege was speaking Thursday at the laying of a foundation stone for the construction of the High Court Chamber for International Crimes and Nyanza High Court in Southern Province.
“We have built a court for all Genocide fugitives and other people who committed crimes against humanity. No fugitive from justice should be allowed to live with impunity. Justice will prevail, it’s either you are found guilty and punished or found innocent and set free. It is in their interest to ensure that the burden of being suspects is not on their back forever,” Prof Rugege said.
“Those who are denying and minimising the Genocide are wasting their energy,” he added.
The court will focus on particular cases, including Genocide crimes, especially those involving fugitives who are in foreign countries, and other cross-border crimes.
The court is being constructed on a 3-hectare piece of land in Rwesero Cell, Busasamana Sector in Nyanza District, at the spot where King Mutara Rudahigwa III would open court to publicly handle complicated cases.
It is also conveniently located as it is close to Mpanga Correctional Centre, which houses with people convicted of international crimes.
Rwanda on course
The new court building, worth Rw1.8 billion, is expected to be complete within 15 months.
Prof Rugege said the country is satisfied with the progress of justice ever since the 2003 reforms, which is partly evidenced by the number of fugitives extradited for trial in Rwanda from the ICTR, Europe and America.
He warned saboteurs of the Rwandan justice system that they will fail.
“There are people who want to tarnish the image of our judiciary with the purpose of discouraging more countries from sending more suspects to be tried in Rwanda,” Rugege said.
“Others try to delay court processes so that an impression is created that we are unable to handle those cases with international dimensions. However, we assure such people that justice will be done in conformity with international standards.”
John Bosco Siboyintore, the head of Genocide Fugitives Tracking Unit, said so far, there are 294 arrest warrants that Rwanda has sent to various countries
He added that there were three appeal cases in residual mechanism of the ICTR: Felicien Kabuga, Protais Mpiranya and Augustin Bizimana.
Five deported or extradited Genocide fugitives are being tried by a Special Chamber of the Hight Court.
The Kingdom of Netherlands has been helping Rwanda in various judicial areas for about 20 years, including training judges and prosecutors as well as funding the construction of courts.
The Dutch ambassador to Rwanda, Leoni Cuelenaere, said the new court project was intended to strengthen the capacity of Rwanda’s prosecution, especially for Genocide cases.
“Never forget that Genocide is the worst crime we have in any legal system. The programme will enhance operational capacity and strengthen the Genocide fugitive tracking unit,” Amb. Cuelenaere said