The international Police Organisation (Interpol) has renewed commitment to working closely with Rwandan authorities in renewed effort to bring to book fugitives who are wanted for their role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The development follows a two day meeting that ended yesterday between officials from Interpol head office in Lyon, Rwanda Public Prosecution Authority (PPA) and Interpol Kigali.
The meeting focused on strategising new means to bring to justice Genocide fugitives who are roaming in different parts of the world.
In a news briefing after the meeting, Stefano Carvelli, the assistant director of Interpol Fugitive Investigative Support Sub-Directorate, said the meeting aimed at streamlining and enhancing strategies of bringing to justice perpetrators of the Genocide.
“Our meeting with the Genocide Fugitive Tracking Unit and Interpol-Rwanda discussed mainly new operational factors and initiatives as means to intensify our hunt for Genocide perpetrators,” Carvelli said.
He added that part of what they discussed included the progress made in tracking Genocide fugitives, the challenges that were faced and how to adapt to different realities in order to have all suspects arrested.
Interpol Fugitive Investigative Support Sub-Directorate was established in 2004 to support Rwandan authorities and the international criminal mechanisms in the search for the perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
John Bosco Siboyintore, the head of Genocide Tracking Unit at RPPA, hailed the cooperation with Interpol.
Irrespective of the fact that the perpetrators keep changing their identity to evade justice, Siboyintore said, Interpol has kept tabs on them and sometimes facilitates their arrest, extradition or deportation.
“We provide Interpol with details, including identities and locations of the perpetrators, but we still face challenges since there is lack of border controls in Europe, which facilitates the fugitives in their movements. Sometimes we indict a fugitive in one country and they easily move to another. Without Interpol facilitating the arrest of these people, we would be nowhere today,” Siboyintore said.
He also cited lack of cooperation from some Western countries to arrest fugitives among the challenges.
“We continue engaging these countries since Genocide is a crime against humanity and punishing it is not just a responsibility of Rwanda. The world bears responsibility to bring these people to justice. We are optimistic about bringing these people to justice,” he added.
Tony Kuramba, the head of Interpol National Central Bureau-Kigali, said since there are still many suspects at large, entities agreed to intensify their efforts to bring them to book.
Interpol has issued more than 200 red notices at the request of the Rwandan government over the year; of which about 40 have been honoured.
Interpol says the 40 arrests are considered a milestone going by the fact that it is “much more difficult tracking criminals of yesterday compared to modern-day fugitives.”
In July, last year, the US government recommitted to working closely with Rwanda, Interpol and a UN tribunal in renewed effort to bring to book the nine key suspects of the Genocide.
The top fugitives include Felicien Kabuga, the alleged chief financier of the Genocide; Protais Mpiranya, the former commandant of the notorious Presidential Guards, and former defence minister Augustin Bizimana.
The so-called ‘big fish’ have eluded justice for nearly two decades now.
Other prominent suspects on the run are Ladislas Ntaganzwa, Fulgence Kayishema, Pheneas Munyarugarama, Aloys Ndimbati, Charles Rwandikayo and Charles Sikubwabo.