Reports that a Genocide fugitive was arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) sends a signal that the recent turn of events regarding the restoration of the Rwanda-DRC relations will go beyond security, economy and now to justice dispensation.
Despite the fact that this arrest was referred to by some as a mere coincidence, since Gregoire Ndahimana was wanted on an ICTR indictment, we cannot shy away from the fact that a few years ago this would not have happened.
It is now almost two years since the now winding up Gacaca jurisdiction published a list of over 6,000 people either convicted in absentia or suspected of having played a role in the Genocide, since then, we have not seen a single person arrested and sent to Rwanda under the ‘judicial cooperation framework.’
Nahimana’s arrest — who is a former Bourgmestre of Kivumu commune — despite coming a bit late especially now that the tribunal remains with just one year to close shop, should also open doors for further arrests and extradition to Rwanda of those thousands responsible for the death of over a million innocent Rwandans.
Prosecution at the UN Court has welcomed the arrest saying that they are ready to receive the man in their custody but do we expect justice to be dispensed in the shortest time?
Considering the fact that we already have five people in the ICTR, custody who are awaiting trial.
The tribunal should appreciate the steps Rwanda has taken in reforming her judiciary which has already received a nod by the instituting organ of the court, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), by taking the bold move of sending the remaining cases to Rwanda for trial.
The arrest also coincided with the visit in Rwanda of the head of the Eastern African Police Cooperation (EAPCO), a body that two years ago recommitted to coordinate the arrest of Genocide fugitives in the 11 countries that subscribe to it.
EAPCO should live up to their commitment by finding and helping bring to book fugitives scattered in these countries.