Third Genocide fugitive in New Zealand unmasked

Pheneas Nzaramba is the third Genocide fugitive to be revealed by the National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) as living in far-flung New Zealand. The prosecutors are not sure if the suspect has assumed another name to evade arrest or whether he has not relocated but National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) spokesperson Faustin Nkusi told The New Times yesterday that they sent his indictment to New Zealand.
Children light candles at Amahoro Stadium during the Genocide commemoration in 2014. / File
Children light candles at Amahoro Stadium during the Genocide commemoration in 2014. / File

Pheneas Nzaramba is the third Genocide fugitive to be revealed by the National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) as living in far-flung New Zealand.

The prosecutors are not sure if the suspect has assumed another name to evade arrest or whether he has not relocated but National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) spokesperson Faustin Nkusi told The New Times yesterday that they sent his indictment to New Zealand.

Nkusi said: “By the time we sent the indictment, he was there [in New Zealand]. But these people keep on changing their address.

“Pheneas Nzaramba is charged with genocide and extermination as crime against humanity. The information gathered reveals that his participation in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi was specifically in Nyakizu.”

Nyakizu is in the former Butare Prefecture, present Huye District.

Last year, Nkusi said three Genocide fugitives, including Eugene Uwimana, a former lecturer at the National University of Rwanda (now the Univeristy of Rwanda), whose indictment was sent in 2004, and Enock Ruhigira, whose indictment was sent in 2007, were believed to be hiding in New Zealand.

At the time, The Dominion Post, a Wellington-based newspaper, reported that one of the suspects was trying to secure confidentiality for witnesses in his defence. Soon after, on July 20, 2016, authorities in Germany arrested Ruhigira as he landed at Frankfurt airport.

Kigali followed up and sent an indictment for Ruhigira to Germany. He is currently under house arrest as the possibility for extradition is considered. Ruhigira, 65, reportedly worked in the Office of the President as the director of cabinet during the Genocide.

Sources say during the Genocide, Nzaramba worked as an accountant for the Union of Baptiste Churches of Rwanda at a place called Nyatanga, in the Nyakizu Parish.

He is alleged to have personally participated in massacres, burning victims’ houses and raping women.

Long wait

It is hard to tell how much cooperation Kigali is getting from Wellington but according to Nkusi, investigators and prosecutors from New Zealand have come to Rwanda on four occasions to investigate the suspects.

He said: “Their last visit was in 2009. Their coming was a good sign but we have to wait. We always wait, though it takes too long. But they are bound by international law to cooperate.”

Naphtal Ahishakiye, executive secretary of Ibuka, the umbrella body of organisations representing Genocide survivors, appealed to countries worldwide to help rein in “people with blood on their hands.”

“Up to now, countries still host people with blood on their hands yet there is no country in this world that does not know that Genocide was committed against the Tutsi,” Ahishakiye said.

“Our appeal is that countries should put in effort to help the Rwandan justice establishment bring these criminals to book. Countries need to, where possible, extradite them to Rwanda, or try them in their own courts.”

A week before The Dominion Post story last year, the Head of the Genocide Fugitive Tracking Unit (GFTU), John Bosco Siboyintore, told journalists that lack of political will in countries is partly why the arrest of Genocide fugitives is complicated.

Since the creation of GFTU in 2007, more than 620 indictments and international arrest warrants have been issued against suspects in 32 countries in Africa, Europe, North America, and Canada in addition to New Zealand.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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