KIGALI - Despite the decision by France’s highest court to sanction the extradition of Callixte Mbarushimana to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the government has said that outstanding charges on his role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi still remain.
This was revealed yesterday to The New Times by the Minister of Justice — who is also the Attorney General — Tharcisse Karugarama.
Mbarushimana was arrested last October on an ICC warrant for atrocities committed in DRC by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) a militia group he served as its Executive Secretary.
“Our charges (against Mbarushimana) on Genocide cannot be diminished by the fact that he is being tried for war crimes by the ICC – these are two separate cases and one does not affect the other,” said Karugarama.
He is charged with 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2009.
“On the contrary, it is good that one of the cases has actually taken off,” the minister continued to say.
“Genocide offences do not expire – there is no contradiction at all. When we get him, we will try him. Now that they have him, let them try him”.
Government and international rights activists want him tried for Genocide, saying that like many other figures at the helm of FDLR, in 1994, Mbarushimana played a major role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
When the Genocide began on 7 April 1994, Mbarushimana was a computer technician with UNDP, in Kigali.
In 2001, the UN conducted its own investigation and linked Mbarushimana with the murder of 32 people, including Tutsi colleagues at the UNDP, during the Genocide.
“What we hope for is simply that the extradition of Mbarushimana to the ICC, which is a good thing, does not allow him to escape the French justice which has started investigating him,” said Alain Gauthier, head of CPCR, one of the rights groups.
“His extradition is likely to be swift, but we will not fail to ask the judge who was investigating him what his (next) intentions are,” he said.