Two military officers yesterday heaved a sigh of relief when they were acquitted of War Crimes -- they did not commit. Brig. General Wilson Gumisiriza and Major Wilson Ukwishaka fell into the unenviable position of having to answer for the crimes of their subordinates who had pleaded guilty and were each sentenced to eight years in prison.
The famous charge; command responsibility, is a really tough nut to crack. A commander miles away from where his subordinate is committing a crime, will answer for it; Ridiculous.
Even more astounding in this so-called international law, is that despite it being an isolated incident by a section of the troops, the commander is supposed to be endowed with magical powers to deduce that one of his men is about to commit a crime and prevent it!
The military court, despite the enormous pressure from the international judiciary (and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) which monitored the trial throughout) has shown its maturity; the guilty have been punished and the innocent exonerated.
The guilty plea in most instances is reason enough to get a lighter sentence at the ICTR. Self-confessed mass murderers who have thousands of people’s lives on their conscience get as low as six year jail sentence for coming clean and (saving the courts time and money).
The former counsellor of Mubuga Sector in the former Kibuye, Vincent Rutaganira is now a free man after spending six years as a guest of the UN for directing the massacres of tens of thousands.
The late Joseph Serugendo, died in custody before serving six years while Joseph Nzabirinda, will be a free man in December, seven years since he went behind bars.
That is the beauty of “international justice”, you save the court a lengthy and expensive trial and you are awarded stars. Time is money.
Will the ICTR claim again that our courts cannot deliver?