KIGALI - The Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga, Friday came out strongly in condemning the Archbishop of Kigali, for undermining the Rwanda judiciary.
Ngoga was reacting to Archbishop Thadee Ntihinyurwa’s statement on BBC Kinyarwanda that he did not trust in Rwandan courts handling the cases of four army officers arrested over the killing of 13 clergymen in Kabgayi in 1994.
“We all have an obligation to allow the judicial process flow independently,” stated the Prosecutor General.
“It would be wise to give it the benefit of doubt and criticize the results and not the procedure.
“This is not the first case to be transferred to a national court, neither is it the first of this nature to be handled by our justice system,” he continued.
“In addition, there are norms and standards of a fair trial and constitutional guarantees that should apply to the suspects in this case as they do apply in others. There have been transfers of cases from the ICTR to France, to The Netherlands and there are pending applications to transfer more cases to Rwanda. If we all sound out like judges, we shall be in breach of fundamental norms of justice and risk contempt,” Ngoga advised.
Ntihinyurwa told BBC that he preferred to have the suspects tried by other courts, especially the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
“I don’t believe justice will be served because the suspects will be judged by their peers. I do not believe justice will be served,” said Ntihinyurwa.
Ngoga said that the stand by the head of the Catholic Church in Rwanda on the judiciary was a case of double standards.
He pointed out that the ICTR used the same procedure and law to transfer several cases to other jurisdictions, yet the church did not criticize the move.
“Why did he not complain when the ICTR transferred the case of Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka and that of Laurent Bucyibaruta to France for trial? Does he mean to say that he trusts French justice more than ours,” Ngoga asked.
Munyeshyaka was the parish priest of Sainte Famille in Kigali while Bucyibaruta was the former Prefet (Governor) of Gikongoro. Both have been indicted by the ICTR for Genocide.
“Why did the Archbishop not complain when Bishop Augustin Misago was tried by a Rwandan court for Genocide and acquitted? This implies bad faith,” Ngaga added.
“All we ask for is for people to allow the judicial process follow its course”.
The military prosecution Wednesday arrested Brig Gen Wilson Gumisiriza, Maj Wilson Ukwishaka, Capt John Butera and Capt (Rtd) Dieudonne Rukeba for “command responsibility”.