KIGALI - African Chief Prosecutors have resolved to boost their partnership with Rwanda in tracking down, arresting and extraditing Genocide fugitives who might be hiding in their countries.
This followed a report presented by the head of the Fugitive Tracking Unit in the Prosecutor General’s office, John Bosco Siboyintore, during the sixth African Prosecutors Association meeting that concluded last week.
Siboyintore’s report highlighted that there was little cooperation from African countries to track fugitives.
Speaking to The New Times, the Nigerian Chief Prosecutor, OJogbane Jonson said that although Rwanda had not issued any indictment to Nigeria, it was important for African countries to cooperate to bring the genocide fugitives to justice.
“Nigeria, as a senior member of African Union, we are willing and committed to tracking down genocide fugitives but the problem is, tracking a fugitive in this black Africa is quite harder than in Europe. That is why some African countries have not been very active in tracking down genocide fugitives,” he mentioned.
The Zimbabwean Chief Law officer in the office of the Attorney General Tawanda Zvekare said that the reason why his country was yet to respond positively is because it takes time and they received the first indictment last month.
According to Siboyintore’s report, about 110 indictments and appeals for arrest have been forwarded to several African and European Countries.
“We issued eleven indictments for the genocide fugitives in Mozambique. Among those we have requested for is the arrest and subsequent extradition of eight fugitives and we are still waiting for the hosting country’s decision.
Uganda has shown full cooperation with two suspects who were arrested and handed over to Rwanda, while two others have been handed over to ICTR.”
Other indictments issued by Rwanda include four sent to Malawi, six to Zambia, three to Gabon, and nine to the DR Congo.
Congo Brazzaville, Ivory Cost, Zimbabwe and Kenya received one indictment each while Tanzania received four indictments and Swaziland two.
“We need to come up with a way of ensuring that all these indictments sent to these African countries are executed,” Siboyintore said.
Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga said that he believes that failure by African countries to bring to justice the perpetrators of Genocide is not based on any policy position but rather weaknesses that need to be worked on.
“We know the difficulties involved. It’s not only prosecutors. There are so many factors involved before a decision is taken to extradite a suspect, but we can do our part as prosecutors and let others play their role,” Ngoga told the African prosecutors.
He advised them to replicate the European system of sharing intelligence when it comes to fugitive criminals. Ngoga made a distinction between the responses to the indictments issued by the ICTR and those issued by the national jurisdictions saying that many countries have collaborated with ICTR, pointing out that the first fugitive sent to the tribunal was arrested in Zambia while many others were seized in Kenya and Angola.
“…so you should give as much attention to the indictments sent by Rwanda as you do to those sent by the ICTR,” Ngoga said.