The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) sitting in Arusha, has yet again worked itself into a controversy. The chief prosecutor, Boubakar Jallow, wants to transfer some Genocide cases and convicts to be tried and incarcerated in France.
Rwanda’s Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga, has protested the move, and rightly so.
If the world is still unconvinced about France’s role in the 1994 Genocide, Rwanda is. Some countries have cooperated with Rwanda in the matter of arresting and trying these genocidaires. There is Canada. There is Belgium. These are not only actively engaged in the matter concerning the Genocide, Belgian nationals even fly into the country to testify at the Mucyo Commission investigating the extent of France’s role in this dark period of Rwanda.
France, on the other hand, has not only maintained an innocent façade, it has even bullishly slapped international arrest warrants on some senior Rwandan officials, through magistrate Louis Bruguire, for allegedly participating in downing late Juvenal Habyarimana’s plane. It has also openly clothed, housed and generally feted known Genocide suspects like Agathe Habyarimana, and the shameless ‘priest’ Wenceslas Munyeshyaka still conducting mass there. These are wanted persons and really should have been deported long ago, but France is still defiantly holding onto them. And now this is the fair France that ICTR wants to entrust with custody of some of its most deadly convicted criminals? No!
ICTR has just reached an understanding with Rwandan authorities to transfer some Genocide suspects to be tried here. Rwanda has already indicated its readiness to receive the referred cases. Where the justification comes from therefore, to send suspects and convicts to France, begs many questions.
What is ICTR up to?
Not so long ago, ICTR suffered a big embarrassment when one of its counsels, Callixte Gakwaya, who was lead defence counsel for Genocide suspect Laurent Munyakazi, was forced to resign because it was found out that he was number 140 on the wanted list of Genocide suspects handed to Interpol. A case of a Genocide suspect in formal white robes defending fellow Genocide suspects, deep into the ranks of ICTR draining its dollars!
If one was to question the amount of money the ICTR has spent in the last ten years vis a vis the number of cases tried, one is hard-put to see justice being honestly pursued.
More than $1 billion spent so far; 33 cases tried.