Following Tuesday’s arrest of ex-FAR Lt. Col. Marcel Bivugabagabo in France, the Interpol has vowed to spare no effort in apprehending Rwanda Genocide fugitives.
Bivugabagabo was arrested in the southern town of Toulouse following joint efforts between the Interpol secretariat and the Rwandan and French judicial authorities.
“The close co-operation between Interpol, Rwandan judicial authorities and French police should send a signal to fugitives of our commitment…we will spare no effort in finding and bringing them to justice,” Interpol Secretary General, Roland Noble, said in a statement released yesterday.
The cooperation between Rwanda and Interpol regarding the arrest of fugitives stems from a meeting that was held between both sides in Kigali in October last year.
It was during that meeting that modalities of cooperation in relation to the location and apprehension of Genocide suspects still at large around the world were drawn.
Bivugabagabo, who is accused of six counts related genocide, was a director of operations in the former prefectures of Ruhengeri and Gisenyi during the Genocide.
He allegedly supervised the killing of thousands of people at the former Ruhengeri Court of Appeal (now Musanze High Court) and at the Nyakinama university campus.According to the spokesman of the prosecution, John Bosco Mutangana, Interpol has of recent been actively involved in the tracking and arresting of fugitives both on the request of the Rwandan government and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, (ICTR).
“There is commitment on behalf of Interpol following our meeting and it has started bearing fruits; we expect more to be arrested because there are many still at large,” Mutangana said yesterday.
He said that many indicted suspects are still moving freely on French territory and in other European countries.
Regarding the extradition of Bivugabagabo, Mutangana said that they will have to wait for what transpires next.
“Despite the fact that we are considering extradition as a first priority, there is no precedence because we have not heard from the French…we will have to wait,” he said.
Just like in the case of Isaac Kamali, another Genocide suspect currently in French custody, Rwanda has sent extradition request for Bivugabagabo to face justice in Rwanda.
Extradition is handled at diplomatic level, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Charles Murigande, said that there is still a long way to go to secure the extraditions.
“We currently have no diplomatic relations with France so there is no way for us to negotiate the extraditions,” Murigande said yesterday.
He added that the process that is now underway is trying to normalise the diplomatic impasse between the two countries.
“There is some progress in this regard (restoration of diplomatic relations) but you need to be patient in that regard (extradition),” he added. Rwanda severed diplomatic ties with France after a French judge Jean Louis Bruguiere issued indictments against several Rwandan senior officers for their alleged role in the murder of former Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana.
A total of five Rwandans are currently under French custody but only Bivugabagabo and Kamali can be extradited.
The other three, Fr Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, Laurent Bucyibaruta and Dominique Ntawukuriryayo were arrested on the warrants of the International Criminal tribunal for Rwanda, (ICTR).