Serge Brammertz, Prosecutor of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals Mechanism (UNRMCT) has commended the continued support of Government of Rwanda to its efforts which have also unearthed new suspects during the process of investigations.
Brammertz was addressing the United Nations Security Council about the work of the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) on December 12, 2022 where he also updated the Council on progress in the prosecution of the final trial and appeals before the Mechanism.
Brammertz said that more than 1,000 fugitives wanted by Rwandan authorities for crimes committed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, but noted that many genocide fugitives abused processes of refugee status to conceal their alleged criminal records.
The Spokesman said that while tracking the four remaining ICTR fugitives, his office uncovered more fugitives in countries around the world.
“To escape justice, they lied about their pasts and abused the refugee process,” and that “in their new homes, many continue to promote genocide ideology,” Prosecutor Brammertz said and called upon the international community to assist Rwanda to account for all fugitives suspected of genocide.
The four suspects, in the crosshairs of the UN Court, include: Fulgence Kayishema, Charles Sikubwabo, Charles Ryandikayo, and Aloys Ndimbati- each running a bounty worth $5million for any information leading to their arrest.
South Africa let one genocide suspect- Kayishema slip out of its fingers in 2019, and Brammertz wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa revealing his displeasure about South Africa’s lack of co-operation in arresting the suspect.
However, in June 2022 the country showed its commitment in helping the UN Court discover where he might have gone.
Apparently, in May 2022, the UN Court crack team managed to bring down and establish the whereabouts of other three suspects in a range of one month. They established that genocide fugitive, Phénéas Munyarugarama, 74, had died of “natural causes” in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002.
Munyarugarama was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) and was wanted for genocide, rape, and other crimes against humanity.
Remains of another genocide suspect- Protais Mpiranya, were traced to a 2006 grave in Harare buried under the name Ndume Sambao.
The spokesperson said that there has been a swift progress in the presentation of the Prosecution’s evidence in the Kabuga trial and announced that subject to further developments, the Prosecution anticipates to complete the presentation of its evidence in the second quarter of 2023.
Elsewhere, he expressed his satisfaction that Augustin Ngirabatware’s attempt to influence witnesses in order to overturn his genocide convictions was detected and halted.
“We trust that by prosecuting these crimes now, we deter others from similar attempts in the future,” he noted.