US pledges to hunt down Genocide fugitives on its soil

KIGALI - The US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, Stephen J. Rapp, has said that his country will continue to facilitate Rwanda in bringing to book Genocide suspects and those financing the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda militia.
Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga and US war crimes Ambassador, Stephen Rapp, yesterday (Photo T Kisambira)
Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga and US war crimes Ambassador, Stephen Rapp, yesterday (Photo T Kisambira)

KIGALI - The US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, Stephen J. Rapp, has said that his country will continue to facilitate Rwanda in bringing to book Genocide suspects and those financing the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda militia.

Rapp announced the pledge, yesterday, while addressing the press, shortly after meeting the Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga, in Kimihurura.

He in the country to discuss judicial issues, including the arrest and trial of Genocide suspects believed to be in the US. Rapp was also here to attend the 17th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi.

Both officials confirmed that among the subjects discussed was Paul Rusesabagina, who is accused of financing the FDLR.

Last year, the government released records of financial transactions that showed Rusesabagina had transferred funds from San Antonio, Texas, to several senior members of the FDLR, some of whom were apprehended and paraded in court.

“We are pursuing (as very high priority) human rights violators accused of the Genocide, who managed to enter the US and managed to get their refugee status and citizenship,” said Rapp, a former Prosecutor at the Tanzania-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

“It is a very high priority in the Department Of Justice to prosecute these people, for the false claims they made, and the lies they put on their forms, that they were not involved in the Genocide,” he added

In 2009, the US arrested Lazare Kobagaya, a Burundian national said to have spearheaded Genocide in the former Nyakizu Commune, Butare Prefecture.

He was also accused of perjury and giving false information to the US immigration officials in his quest for citizenship.
Kobagaya’s trial on Genocide charges is scheduled to open next month, the first Genocide case to be tried in the US.
Rapp explained that they will work with Rwanda to get enough evidence which will help the activities of the American court and jury to arrest and charge or extradite the suspects.

Ngoga said that Rapp’s office was helpful in revisiting the “transfer of 11 cases from Arusha to Rwanda. I am optimistic this time we are likely to succeed,” said Ngoga.

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