13 February 2013

Rwanda: Massive Protest Against ICTR Acquittals

On Monday February 11 2013, Rwandans spear headed by members of Survivors Association of Rwanda -IBUKA held a march in Kigali to protest the recent acquittal of Justin Mugenzi and Prosper Mugiraneza by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

The march started at 1pm at Kimihurura roundabout heading to the ICTR Liaison Office in Remera.

In a strong worded statement, President of IBUKA Prof. Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu said that the acquittals were another nail in the coffin of the victims of the genocide, and a smack in the face for survivors of the genocide too.

"The ICTR has delivered nothing for either the victims or the survivors of the genocide, delivering no compensation for the horrific atrocities committed during the genocide planned and perpetrated by the Government of which Mugenzi and Mugiraneza were indisputably members - even though the ICTR denies that they were actively involved," said Disingizemungu

IBUKA has in the past expressed its frustration regarding the ICTR decisions several times.

A similar march was organized in November 2009 after the release of Protais Zigiranyirazo, commonly known as" Mr. Z" who and Catholic priest Hormisdas Nsengimana.

"We are all against these outrageous ICTR's acquittals. Releasing genocide perpetrators is outright denial of genocide, releasing well-known genocidaires like Emmanuel Bagambiki, Andre Ntagerura, Ignace Bagirishema, Gen. Gratien Kabirigi and others, is a failure of justice and a clear signal of impunity.

We want the world to know that Rwandan survivors of the genocide are angry and feel insulted by these acquittals." said Aristarque Ngoga, Executive Secretary of Graduate Students Survivors of Genocide (GAERG) who also participated in the march.

IBUKA condemned the ICTR Appeals Chamber decisions and in particular its president, Judge Theodor Meron, who has even acquitted people like Protais Zigiranyirazo one of the planners of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis.

The ICTR which is based in Arusha Tanzania was established to prosecute persons responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of Rwanda or in the territory of neighbouring States between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 1994.

Since its inception in 1994, it has operated on an annual budget of $250,000,000 but has only completed 72 cases with 10 of them being acquittals.

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