Rwanda: Ibuka, Prosecution Welcome Arrest of Genocide Suspect Joseph Mugenzi

(file photo).
28 October 2020

Ibuka, the umbrella organization of Genocide survivors associations, and the National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) have welcomed the arrest of Genocide suspect Joseph Mugenzi in The Netherlands.

The 71-year-old was arrested on Tuesday, October 27, by the Dutch Police's international crimes unit.

The Genocide suspect who has been living in The Netherlands since 2000 was the president of FDU-Inkingi, an unregistered political group that is known to openly deny the 1994 Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi.

Speaking to The New Times, the Executive Secretary of Ibuka, Naphtal Ahishakiye, applauded the news of Mugenzi's arrest.

He said: "This is good news to all Rwandans, most especially Genocide survivors. It emphasizes the fact that Genocide crimes are not bound by the statute of limitations; they do not expire."

"It also sends a clear message to Genocide perpetrators who are still roaming around, that the long arm of justice will not spare them, soon or later they will also be held accountable for the committed atrocities," he added.

The spokesperson of NPPA, Faustin Nkusi, also welcomed the arrest, and credited it to current good cooperation between Rwanda and The Netherlands.

"We have good judicial cooperation with authorities of The Netherlands. The Arrest warrant against Joseph Mugenzi was issued in 2013. We hope he will be extradited as we requested in 2015," Nkusi said.

Judicial authorities of The Netherlands have so far deported one fugitive and extradited two Genocide fugitives to Rwanda. They also tried two in the courts of their country."

Those extradited are Jean Baptiste Mugimba and Jean Claude Iyamuremye, both in 2016.

Mugimba was Secretary General of the Coalition for the Defence of the Republic (CDR), an extremist Hutu political party, whereas Iyamuremye was the leader of the Interahamwe militia in Kicukiro Sector.

In 2015, The Netherland deported Jean de Dieu Munyaneza.

The two tried in the Netherlands are John Mpambara who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2010 and Yvonne Ntacyobatabara who was slapped with six years and eight months in 2013 but died in prison before her sentence was finished.

An example for other countries

The Executive Secretary of the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CLNG), Jean-Damascène Bizimana says that countries harbouring Genocide fugitives should also bring these perpetrators before justice.

"Arresting and extraditing perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide the Tutsi is the responsibility of every country because this is an international crime. Doing so shows all fugitives that they will soon or later give account to the crimes they committed," he told this paper.

Who is Mugenzi?

According to the NPPA, Mugenzi is accused of Genocide, crimes against humanity, conspiracy to commit Genocide, and complicity to commit Genocide.

Mugenzi committed the crimes he is accused of mainly in Nyamirambo and Nyakabanda sectors of Kigali.

During the Genocide, Mugenzi worked in the National Bank of Rwanda, and also owned a pharmacy called Umuravumba in Kigali.

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