Amnesty International (AI), a rights’ organisation, this week urged governments world wide not to transfer Genocide fugitives to Rwanda for trial. AI also called on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to halt its plans to transfer the Genocide suspects it will not have prosecuted by the time its mandate runs out next year.
However, last month, ICTR Chief Prosecutor Bubacar Jallow did not only approve Rwanda’s competence to handle Genocide suspect cases but also visited transit and new detention centers in the country to ensure that all conditions needed to impeach the fugitives are met—probably by international standards.
AI doubts Rwanda’s ability to investigate and prosecute crimes related to 1994 Genocide fairly and impartially and in accordance with international standards of justice.
This is an implausible issue of undermining what Africans and in particular Rwanda is capable of doing in as far as dealing with her home issues is concerned.
Given the magnitude of the Rwanda Genocide of 1994 and the effects of its aftermath, it would be irrational for AI to insist on dawdling procedures that reflect less progress.
ICTR has little to show in terms of cases that have been successfully tried given high costs incurred.
Only approximately thirty cases in a span of a decade have been tried to bring about justice for millions of people who were affected by the atrocities of 1994.
AI should not forget that Rwanda’s justice system - Gacaca has many advantages, among which fast tracking towards national reconciliation and social harmony is a priority.
The professed perfect international justice system advocated by AI may cause further impunity since it promotes retribution, a thing that Rwanda denounces in order to have lasting unity among her people.
After all, the same body looked on as a million people were massacred in a hundred days of bloodbath.
Fortunately, several countries are willing and are in the process of extraditing Genocide suspects to Rwanda for justice to prevail.
The experience with Gacaca has been a successful experiment in history of justice agitation.
The problem it sought to solve was a unique one that had no precedence.