18 December 2012

Rwanda Protests Privileged Treatment of Genocide Convicts

RWANDAN prosecution has complained to the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) over the privileges some countries are according several Genocide convicts serving sentences.

Speaking to journalists, yesterday, the Deputy Prosecutor General, Alphonse Hitiyaremye, said that his office had presented the petition to Theodor Meron, the President of MICT in a meeting held yesterday. Hitiyaremye said that Meron promised to look into the issue.

Meron, who is in the country on an official visit, was scheduled to brief the media on the matter, but failed to show up, only for Hitiyaremye to tell the media that; "it is not in the culture of judges to speak to the media."

"Judge Meron listened to what we had to say on the situation of Genocide fugitives and convicts and he assured us that he would look into the matter.

"It is very disappointing when we hear cases where those convicted of Genocide crimes against the Tutsi are living the lavish life yet they are supposed to be paying for the crimes they committed," Hitiyaremye said.

It was reported earlier this month that 14 convicts who were serving their sentences in a Malian prison were operating thriving businesses and get out of prison as they please.

Two of these were last week accorded early release by the Mechanism, much to the chagrin of Genocide survivors.

"We appealed to the IRMCT to see to it that the situation changes well knowing that many of these criminals are serving their sentences elsewhere under the pretext that they would not get fair treatment in Rwanda."

MICT was formed by the United Nations Security Council in 2010 to replace the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Hitiyaremye also blamed the International Mechanism for making judgments on Genocide suspects without consulting the Rwandan concerned parties like the Genocide survivors.

"It is not fair for Genocide survivors to get news of judgments through the media. Say, for example, if a suspect is handed a seven year sentence, some survivors are surprised because they think the person in question deserves 20 years. But if they are consulted and involved more in the justice system, then they will feel content by the judgment," Hitiyaremye said.

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