4 May 2006

Rwanda: Govt Wants Acquitted Bagambiki to Surrender in Order to Face Rape Trial

Arusha — The Rwandan Government Wednesday asked the former Préfet of Cyangugu (Western Rwanda), Emmanuel Bagambiki, to surrender himself to the Rwandan authorities in order to face trial for rape.

Bagambiki was recently acquitted of genocide and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

"I am inviting him to consider handing himself in," said Alloys Mutabingwa, the Rwandan special representative to ICTR.

Bagambiki was acquitted on charges of genocide in February this year by the tribunal but Rwanda now wants to try him for rape. He is currently accommodated by the tribunal in Arusha because he has not found a country to host him.

Mutabingwa said it would be better for Bagambiki to move to Rwanda and defend himself personally on allegations of rape now that he has been cleared on genocide.

"He has no reason to resist the process," added Mutabingwa.

The envoy said that the Rwandan Government had on March 10, 2006 served the Registrar of the tribunal with the warrant of arrest against Bagambiki. The Tanzanian government and Interpol have also been given the warrants of arrest. He said Rwanda is awaiting the legal process to be completed.

"I am optimistic that all interested parties will act together to see that it runs smoothly without causing any hassles," Mutabingwa stated.

According to Mutabingwa, the justice process concerning Bagambiki cannot be considered exhausted without him being tried for rape allegations.

Mutabingwa further said that Bagambiki had not been tried for rape despite the fact that the evidence was in the hands of the ICTR prosecutor.

"It is extremely important to prosecute this crime (rape)," said Mutabingwa.

Bagambiki had been tried jointly with the former Rwandan minister for transport Andre Ntagerura for genocide.

The two were acquitted by trial chamber in February 2004 for lack of sufficient evidence. The prosecutor appealed the decision but the appeal was dismissed and the acquittal confirmed by the appeals chamber in February this year.

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