HARARE - Reports from Zimbabwe say the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Hassan Bubacar Jallow, has complained to the UN Security Council that the tribunal encountered difficulties while tracking Protais Mpiranya, a top Genocide fugitive believed to be hiding in the country.
NewsDay, a Zimbabwe newspaper, says Jallow wrote to the UN Security Council last week saying that the Zimbabwe government had failed to cooperate.
Mpiranya was commander of the notorious Presidential Guard during the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994 and remains one of the most wanted fugitives by the UN tribunal.
“Difficulties experienced in the tracking of the top level fugitive Protais Mpiranya continue and I urge further cooperation and assistance from the Government of Zimbabwe in this regard,” Jallow is quoted as telling the Security Council.
The newspaper reports that Zimbabwean police on Monday maintained they were not aware of the presence of Mpiranya in the country despite insistence by the tribunal.
“We do not know of his presence in Zimbabwe. As police, we are unaware of his presence here,” Wayne Bvudzijena, chief police spokesperson is quoted as saying.
Mpiranya is accused of Crimes against Humanity, War Crimes and Conspiracy to commit Genocide, Genocide or alternative Complicity in Genocide.
As early as 1992, Mpiranya allegedly supervised the training of Interahamwe militiamen. He is accused of distributing weapons to the Interahamwe with the intent to exterminate the Tutsi population.
During the peak of the Genocide in April 1994, Mpirinya allegedly ordered the killing of te Tutsi. The mass executions were often preceded by rape, sexual violence and other crimes of a sexual nature, by Interahamwe and troops under his command.
He is alleged to have arrested, sexually assaulted, and killed former Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana. He is also accused of arresting the 10 Belgian peacekeepers who were guarding her house, and killing them.
• How Mpirinya manages to elude arrest
Mpirinya is wanted by Interpol and his head also carries a US$5 million bounty under the reward for justice program by the US State Department.
But he eludes capture because of strong links, purportedly, with influential members of the ruling ZANU-PF party. He allegedly lives in a wealthy residential ZANU-PF suburb of Harare, under the protection of top government officials.
The man accused of war crimes and conspiracy to commit Genocide is allegedly a business associate of one of President Robert Mugabe’s nephews. He works with ‘Bright Enterprises’ – a company that specialises in import and export business.
He and others maintain a strong grip – through misinformation and intimidation – on the Rwandan refugee community in Zimbabwe.
Furthermore, Mpirinya allegedly continues to maintain links with remnants of the former Rwandan regime’s army, members of the FDLR militia operating in the DRC.