Rwanda: Envoy Appeals to Countries to Act on Over 1,100 Indictments of Genocide Fugitives

The Rwandan ambassador to Switzerland, Marie-Chantal Rwakazina, has appealed to concerned countries to act on indictments and international arrest warrants for 1,145 of individuals living in 33 countries worldwide.

She made the appeal Wednesday, April 7, on the occasion of the international day of reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda held at the Palais des Nations.

Besides being an envoy to Switzerland, Rwakazina is also Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva, Switzerland,

"I would like to recall here that, between 2007 and 2020, Rwanda issued indictments and International arrest warrants for one Thousand One Hundred Forty-Five Cases (1,145) of individuals living in 33 countries worldwide," she said.

"We once again appeal to all those concerned countries for their urgent implementation."

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Commemoration was held in hybrid format with participants watching the ceremony on their screens, while a few gathered for the event.

The Commemoration started in the morning by the laying of wreaths at the Memorial Stele at Place des Nations which was built in collaboration with the City of Geneva to honour the memory of victims of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

The consequences of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi were enormous and had repercussions outside Rwanda's borders, the envoy noted. More than two million civilians were forced by the defeated genocidaires to flee Rwanda to neighboring countries, notably in Tanzania and ex-Zaire where they were used by the latter as human shield in the militarized refugee camps that were tightly controlled by ex-Forces armées rwandaises (FAR) and Interahamwe militia.

It's worth recalling that, she said, UN resolutions 955 of 1994 establishing the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that aimed at prosecuting persons responsible for Genocide and urged all States to cooperate with the Tribunal in the investigation and prosecution of persons accused of committing Genocide.

The Appeal Chamber of the same Tribunal ruled that between April 6, 1994 and July 17, 1994, a Genocide was committed against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

"Unfortunately, some suspects are still living and traveling freely around the globe, notably in western countries, a number of them being called or calling themselves defenders of human rights," Rwakazina said.

"The arrest of Félicien Kabuga in June 2020 by France constitutes a powerful message to those fugitives still at large, that they cannot evade justice. Thus, reminding countries that still harbor those fugitives to bring them to justice."

In doing so, she noted, they would emulate the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals and International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (IRMCT) in its decision early this month, on the rejection of early release of Théoneste Bagosora.

Genocide fugitives in New Zealand, Australia

Nearly six hours earlier, during another commemoration at the High Commission of Rwanda in Singapore, which is also accredited to Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia, Rwanda's envoy to Singapore, Amb Jean de Dieu Uwihanganye, raised the issue of Genocide fugitives and deniers roaming freely.

He observed that Kwibuka27 comes at a time where deniers of the Genocide against the Tutsi and double genocide theory apologists are on the rise, and called on the participants to stand against Genocide deniers and the spread of misinformation.

Uwihanganye said: "Kwibuka period is an opportunity to remind the world that it is only through the cooperation of every country that genocide suspects, still hiding in different countries around the world, including in this region, will be brought to book to render justice to the victims as well as preventing Genocide from happening again anywhere in the world.

"Disallowing genocide deniers a platform and a safe heaven to peddle their misinformation as well as cooperating in apprehending Genocide suspects is the only way to make 'Never Again' mean 'Never Again' for Rwanda and the whole world."

According to sources, known Genocide fugitives in New Zealand include Eugene Uwimana, Enock Ruhigira, Thomas Kigufi, and Pheneas Nzaramba.

Nzaramba is charged with Genocide - his participation in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi was specifically in Nyakizu, in the former Butare Prefecture, present Huye District.

In Australia and many other places, Genocide fugitives changed names and nationalities to disguise themselves.

The only known fugitive in Australia is Celestin Munyaburanga but there are others living there under new identities.

Many illegally sought Congolese and Burundian nationalities before they relocated to Australia under third country relocation deals between the UNHCR, the host countries where they had taken refuge and Australia.

Tatiana Valovaya, Director-General of the United Nations at Geneva, lays a wreath to the memorial stele to pay tribute to the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Leon Saltiel, Representative and Coordinator on Counter-Antisemitism at World Jewish Congress, pays tribute to the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Frédérique Perler, Vice President of the Administrative Council of the City of Geneva, pays tribute to the victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi.

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