US offers $5m reward for Mudacumura's capture

The United states has staked $5 million (about Rwf3.2 billion) for information leading to the arrest, transfer and conviction of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) leader Sylvestre Mudacumura.
One of the FDLR rebels captured by Rwanda Defence Forces last year. The New Times/ T. Kisambira.
One of the FDLR rebels captured by Rwanda Defence Forces last year. The New Times/ T. Kisambira.

The United states has staked $5 million (about Rwf3.2 billion) for information leading to the arrest, transfer and conviction of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) leader Sylvestre Mudacumura.

Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice Stephen J. Rapp announced this yesterday during a tele-press conference.

Mudacumura is currently wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, rape, torture and attacking civilians.

FDLR, a militia based in DR Congo, is composed of Rwandan elements largely responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, which claimed more than a million lives.

Mudacumura’s name was added on the list that features key suspects of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, including Felicien Labuga, Protais Mpiranya and Augustin Bizimana—all wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

Also on the list is Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army currently believed to be holed up in Central African Republic.

Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga welcomed the inclusion of Mudacumura on the list, when contacted, saying “it is a good and important initiative.”

“What is unclear though is why Mudacumura has all along been missing on the list… Could it be based on the serious nature of allegations against them ranked in the order of gravity or any other criteria we don’t know?”

Ambassador Rapp explained that the delay was due to lack of legal mechanism that would justify the reward.

“Mudacumura was only indicted by the ICC in 2012, and our law by that time did not permit us to offer rewards for ICC cases but only for Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunals cases…we had his indictment and arrest warrant but we needed a way to do that to include him and the Congress finally provided suitable means which is this law that came into effect on January 15.”

US President Barrack Obama on January 15 signed into law the Department of State Rewards Programme Update and Technical Corrections Act of 2012, expanding the authority for the War Crimes Rewards Programme (WCRP).

“After it was passed we had to consult with agencies and obtain information on each of these individuals and notify Congress that we are ready to receive tips on these people and that we had ways to act on that information if we received it,” said

Rapp in the teleconference.

“We act so that there can be justice for the innocent men, women, and children who have been subjected to mass murder, rape, amputation, enslavement, and other atrocities…With this programme we also send a message to others who may perpetrate such crimes: ‘there will be the means to bring you to account.’”

Two people, including a park warden attached to the Volcanoes National Park in Musanze District were killed and others wounded in last year’s two separate attacks by DR Congo-based FDLR.

The rebels though believed to be weakened, launched attacks on two villages in Rubavu, Western Province.

ICTR’s indicted Genocide suspects Felicien Kabuga, Protais Mpiranya, Augustin Bizimana, Fulgence Kayishema, Pheneas Munyarugarama, Aloys Ndimbati, Ladislas Ntaganzwa, Charles Ryandikayo, and Charles Sikubwabo, are also on the WCRP list.

The US Government promises that it will “ensure complete confidentiality to individuals who provide information on war criminals, and, if participation in the programme entails significant risk to the individuals, will consider additional protective measures.”

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