Next month, Rwandans and the rest of the world will begin commemorating 26 years since the 1994 genocide against Tutsi was committed in Rwanda claiming over one million lives.
Several genocide suspects have been arrested and brought to justice locally and in other countries, but majority of the genocide masterminds remain at large, a concern that genocide survivors are not at peace with.
As the April commemoration approaches, the War Crimes Rewards Program, a US government State Department is again reminding the general public to grab a $5million reward by giving information on the whereabouts of most wanted suspects.
“The genocide in Rwanda occurred 25 years ago, and some of those responsible are still at large. Submit a tip that leads to arrest and get paid (Up to $5 million reward),” the program said on twitter.
The program said it will handle the information 100% confidentiality and the whistle blowers or informants can use email@example.com, WhatsApp +1 202 975 5468 to contact them with a tip.
“With this coronavirus lockdown around the world, it is probably going to be easy for the suspects to be found, since they cannot travel easily and escape justice as we have seen in the case of Kabuga,” said Aboubakar Karamba, a genocide survivor.
The genocide suspects who are wanted by the Mechanism for the International Criminal Tribunal (MICT) and on the reward list of the War Crimes Rewards Program include: Felicien Kabuga (last whereabouts in Kenya), Protais Mpiranya (not known but suspected to be in DRC or Zimbabwe), Augustin Bizimana (suspected to be in DRC), Fulgence kayishema (suspected to be in South Africa), Pheneas Munyarugarama , Aloys Ndimbati, Charles Sikubwabo, Charles Ryandikayo- whose whereabouts are not known till today.
Since its initiation 16 years ago, the War Crimes Rewards Program has managed to nab and transferred to relevant courts nine Rwandans who featured on the wanted list and rewards were also given out to the informants.
They include Augustin Bizimungu,Yusuf John Munyakazi, Tharcisse Renzah, Idelphonse Hategekimana and Jean-Baptiste Gatete.
Others like Jean Uwinkindi and Bernard Munyagishari have since been transferred to Rwanda from ICTR and faced the hand of Justice.
In the meantime, Rwanda has submitted over 1000 indictments for the arrest and extradition of other Rwandan genocide suspects who are known to be largely in the southern African countries and in Europe.
Genocide survivors told KTPress that some of the suspects have changed their names, and there is need for a robust renewed political will from host countries to have the suspects arrested.
Rwanda’s Justice Minister and State Attorney, Johnston Busingye said Monday that as Rwanda enters into the commemoration period government insists the suspects should be arrested and brought to justice in Rwanda or their current respective countries of residence.
“We call for their arrest they (genocide suspects) are not living in space, under water or in the forest but in countries where someone or some people know where they are hiding and these suspects are not lost like a needle in a haystack instead someone is protecting them,” Busingye said.
Busingye said that Rwanda will not give up on searching for the suspects and reminded everyone involved in hiding the suspects that genocide is a lifetime crime of which Rwanda’s efforts to seek justice have been renewed more than ever.
“Whoever is doing this is not different from them. Let them not think that genocide is a Rwandan issue but instead a world affair of which efforts and political will have been increased to follow them up forever,” Busingye said.