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11 Rwanda Genocide convicts stranded in Arusha

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Some genocide convicts of the former International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) are still stranded in Arusha after serving their jail sentences, having failed to get countries in which they can take refuge.

A source close to Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunal (MICT) which replaced the Rwandan Tribunal after the latter closed shop on December 31 last year, said at least 11 of the former fugitives are still staying in a ‘safe house’ in Arusha.

Eight of them were acquitted by ICTR and three were freed after serving their sentences but they have declined to return to their home country of Rwanda fearing reprisals.

The sources added that several countries have been approached by the former Tribunal to host the persons but none has accepted.

ICTR was set up by the United Nations Security Council through Resolution No. 955 of November 8, 1994 to hunt down fugitives of the Rwanda genocide earlier in the year in which nearly one million people were massacred, many of them Tutsis and a few Hutus.

Since it started trials in 1997 until its closure last December, the Tribunal had convicted 61 suspects and acquitted 14 others, of whom only six have found host countries.

Sources privy to trials in UN Tribunals said although the former fugitives were still homeless, they were not allowed to travel out of Arusha, one reason being that they don’t possess travel documents. “they are only living here through special permits of the UN. They can only secure travelling documents from their country, that is Rwanda,” a former official of the disbanded Tribunal said.

MOSST WANTED GENOCIDE FUGITIVE: Felicien Kabuga
MOSST WANTED GENOCIDE FUGITIVE: Felicien Kabuga

Despite closing down, a hunt for six fugitives who are suspected to be perpetrators of the Rwanda genocide is still going on. They include Felicien Kabuga, a former Rwandan businessman who has a US$ 5 million price tag placed on his head.

Others are Pheneas Munyarugarama, Fulgence Kayishema, Charles Sikuwabo, one Ryandikayo and Aloys Ndimbati. If arrested they will be transferred to Kigali because the Tribunal has closed shop. The last judgment of the ICTR was held on December 14 last year at its rented premises at the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC), which have also hosted the MICT.

The majority of those indicted were high-ranking military and government officials, politicians, businessmen, clergy, militia and media leaders.

At the peak of its business, the ICTR employed about 1,500 staff, many of them from outside Tanzania.

 

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