Zimbabwe agrees to hand over genocide fugitives

Zimbabwe has for a long time been cited to be hosting genocide fugitives and key of them is Protais Mpiranya, the former commander of the notorious Presidential Guards who spearheaded killings mainly in Kigali during the genocide against the Tutsi.

by Tulip Charowa

ZIMBABWE’S Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga has reaffirmed Government’s “unreserved commitment” to provide full cooperation with the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) in matters of investigations into the whereabouts of the genocide fugitives.

This was said by Serge Brammertz, Prosecutor of IRMCT while addressing the UN Security Council on Monday December 13. It was during a session to update the council on the activities of the UN court.

IRMCT (The Mechanism) took over the work of the now-dissolved International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and that of former Yugoslavia (ICTY) after the two UN courts closed.

“With respect to Zimbabwe, I undertook an official mission to Harare in early November, where I met with Vice President (Constantine) Chiwenga and other senior officials. We discussed positive results achieved recently in our joint efforts, as well as key outstanding issues,” Brammertz told the council.

“As a result of these discussions, I submitted a set of concrete recommendations on how to further improve our cooperation, and reiterated our pending requests for vital information from Zimbabwean authorities,” he said.

Zimbabwe has for a long time been cited to be hosting genocide fugitives and key of them is Protais Mpiranya, the former commander of the notorious Presidential Guards who spearheaded killings mainly in Kigali during the genocide against the Tutsi.

In 2012, it was reported that the then Zimbabwean Police commander for CID Homicide, Peter Magwenzi, had conceded that Mpiranya was believed to be in Zimbabwe using pseudo names Theophase Mahuku and James Kakule to evade justice.

Claims that Mpiranya is hiding in Zimbabwe were first made by the Belgian government in 2010.

The US government says Mpiranya uses several aliases including Yahaya Mohamed, Hirwa Protais Alain, Alain Protais Muhire, James Kakule, and Mambo Mapendo Augustin.

Meanwhile, Brammertz said that his office remains committed to the search of six Genocide fugitives, one being Mpiranya, who is considered by the UN court as ‘Big Fish’ and whom the Mechanism insists it must try before it winds up.

The remaining five fugitives – including Flugence Kayishema believed to be in South Africa – were indicted by the ICTR but their files were later handed to Rwanda, meaning that in case of their arrest, they will be tried in Rwandan courts.

He added that if able to obtain the needed intelligence and evidence, they expect further significant advancements in their work, and the key countries in this regard at the moment are Zimbabwe and South Africa.

“While I have not yet received a response, I trust that in the coming period, I will be able to report that Zimbabwe is providing full and effective cooperation,” Brammertz added.

However he called out South Africa for lack of cooperation, adding that South Africa is still failing to adhere to its international obligations.

Addressing the council, Rwanda’s permanent representative at the UN, Valentine Rugwabiza expressed concerns over countries that continue to obstruct international justice by refusing to cooperate in the arrest of the fugitives.

“The Government and people of Rwanda continue to ask ourselves what could possibly be the geostrategic interests of any Member State to side with the perpetrators by assisting them to hide and escape justice for crimes of Genocide they committed in Rwanda,” she said.

Besides the six fugitives indicted by the UN court, there are over 1,100 indictments issued by the Rwandan prosecution to genocide fugitives in over 30 countries where they have found safe haven.

  • via New Times
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