In the wake of the arrest of two of the most wanted Genocide fugitives, the United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallström, has called for the UN to add sexual violence charges on the list of indictments the two men face.
Wallström said on Sunday that there is a need to ensure that the crimes of sexual violence they both stand accused of are exposed in the legal process.
Bernard Munyagishari was arrested for his role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, while Ratko Mladic, was wanted for his role in the Balkans conflict,
Munyagishari was apprehended last week in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after evading capture for 17 years, while Mladic was arrested in Serbia after 16 years in hiding.
Wallström, said that the indictments of the two men show that the fight against impunity for crimes of conflict-related sexual violence continues to yield results.
“In most media reports on their respective apprehension, however, sexual violence used as a tactic or weapon of war is repeatedly neglected from being mentioned,” she said in a statement.
Munyagishari, the former head of the Interahamwe militia in Gisenyi, is charged with five counts that include Genocide, and rape as a Crime against Humanity, during the Genocide that claimed over one million Tutsis.
He is awaiting transfer to the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
“It is crucial that the terrible acts of sexual violence they both stand accused of are exposed in the legal process currently under way,” stated Wallström.
“Only by explicitly bringing these horrible deeds into the open can we help to break history's greatest silence.” She added
Mladic, the war-time leader of the Bosnian Serb forces, is awaiting transfer to The Hague, where he will stand trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
He is charged with 15 counts that include the murder of close to 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in July 1995. In the indictment, sexual abuse or sexual violence is mentioned five times.