African prosecutors pledge to track down Genocide fugitives

Prosecutors from African countries under their umbrella organisation, Africa Prosecutors Association (APA), have called upon all countries to cooperate with Rwanda to apprehend Genocide fugitives wherever they may be, to face justice. Olyvia M. Imalwa, the president of the association, made the call yesterday while addressing the media.
Olyvia Imalwa, APA President  and Richard Buteera, Director Public Prosecution of Uganda laying wreath as Martin Ngoga looks on. The New Times Bosco Asiimwe.
Olyvia Imalwa, APA President and Richard Buteera, Director Public Prosecution of Uganda laying wreath as Martin Ngoga looks on. The New Times Bosco Asiimwe.

Prosecutors from African countries under their umbrella organisation, Africa Prosecutors Association (APA), have called upon all countries to cooperate with Rwanda to apprehend Genocide fugitives wherever they may be, to face justice.

Olyvia M. Imalwa, the president of the association, made the call yesterday while addressing the media.

This was shortly after members of APA, who are in the country to attend an African prosecutors conference, visited Murambi Genocide Memorial in Nyamagabe District, Southern Province and paid tribute to over 50,000 victims killed there during Genocide.

“I call upon prosecution authorities all over the African continent to cooperate with the office of the Prosecutor General of Rwanda, render assistance and persuade their governments to have these fugitives arrested and extradited to Rwanda or ICTR so that they can face the law,” Imalwa said.

The prosecution has often decried the little cooperation they receive from fellow African countries, especially those where indictments were sent to arrest fugitives.

 “What I have seen here is terrifying. UN member states should cooperate and ensure that justice is served,” Imalwa, who is also the Prosecutor General of Namibia, added.

She noted that what happened in Rwanda during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi “cannot be explained…it’s terrifying. Those who don’t know what happened to Rwandans should come and experience for themselves what happened”.

Imalwa acknowledged that people were killed innocently and defencelessly, adding that she heard about the Genocide “but I didn’t know that what I saw today is actually what happened. This is terrifying.”

Martin Ngoga, the Prosecutor General, noted that African countries lag behind in cooperating with Rwanda to apprehend fugitives on the African soil.

He explained that it was important for the prosecutors to visit the site to witness what happened and understand Rwanda’s call to bring to justice those responsible, and are still hiding in some of the African countries.

“Memorials are there to preserve history and help foreigners, especially prosecutors, who are charged with following up on those responsible for the Genocide, to understand what happened in Rwanda in 1994,” he said.

Ngoga said that his office would continue to fight for justice by working together with other countries where fugitives are hiding.

“Our goal is to bring to justice all those responsible for these atrocities and we will never tire until they are apprehended and charged accordingly,” he said.

At the memorial, prosecutors laid a wreath before they were taken through various chambers where over 840 bodies have been preserved with lime. They also visited several mass graves where victims were buried using earthmoving machinery after they were killed.

Murambi Genocide Memorial was designed to be a technical school and was still under construction during the Genocide.

Over 50,000 Tutsis, who had sought refuge there were killed when the Interahamwe militia raided the area on orders of area leaders, including Laurent Bucyibaruta, who was the Prefect of Gikongoro Prefecture, Capt. Faustin Sebuhura, who represented the army and the then Burgmestre of Nyamagabe Commune, Felicien Semakwavu.

Bucyibaruta is currently in France. Only 14 people survived the massacre, which took place at the school on April 21, 1994.

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