Last week’s decision by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to free two former ministers, enraged Genocide survivors with their umbrella association, IBUKA ‘carefully considering’ its next move, that may include holding protests.
The two ministers acquitted are Casmir Bizimungu (Health) and Jerome Bicamumpaka of Foreign Affairs, in the case dubbed ‘Government II trial.
IBUKA head, Jean Pierre Dusingizimana, told The New Times yesterday that “we were very upset by the decision, especially the acquittals but we hope there will be an appeal.”
“There are discussions that we are having with prosecutors [both Rwanda’s and ICTR’s]. We are waiting to see the achievement of this and then we could think of other actions such as demonstrations.”
The tribunal convicted two other ministers in the same trial, Justin Mugenzi and Prosper Mugiraneza of Trade and Public Service respectively, and sentenced them to 30 years each.
Mugenzi and Mugiraneza were convicted of conspiracy to commit genocide for their participation in a decision to ouster Butare’s Tutsi Prefect, Jean-Baptiste Habyalimana.
Based on their participation in a joint criminal activity at the subsequent installation ceremony where President Théodore Sindikubwabo gave an inflammatory speech inciting the killing of Tutsis, the Trial Chamber convicted Mugenzi and Mugiraneza of direct and public incitement to commit Genocide.
Born in 1951 in Nyamugari commune, in the then Ruhengeri prefecture, Bizimungu was appointed Minister of Health from April 1987 until January 1989. He was reinstated in the position from April 1992 until he fled Rwanda in July 1994.
He was arrested in Kenya on February 11, 1999.
Bicamumpaka joined the MDR party in 1991 and was sworn in to the Interim Government as the Minister of Foreign Affairs on April 9, 1994.
He was arrested on April 6, 1999, in Cameroon.