UN prosecutor to member states: Intensify efforts to locate, arrest Genocide fugitives
The Prosecutor of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism) Serge Brammertz, has called for greater efforts to locate and arrest fugitives wanted for their role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
Brammertz made the appeal on Monday, June 8, while addressing the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
Referring to the recent arrest of alleged Genocide mastermind Felicien Kabuga, Brammertz said that cooperation of member states played a critical role in the effort, adding that further success can be achieved if this continues as the search for another key fugitive Protais Mpiranya and the five other ICTR fugitives continues.
Referring to Kabuga’s arrest, Brammertz detailed how a “pro-active, analysis-driven investigation over the last few years, combined with exceptional cooperation with French authorities”, led to a successful arrest operation in France on the morning of May 16, 2020.
“Member States should make the Office of the Prosecutor’s requests for assistance a priority and ensure the support needed to complete the mandate. We still face many challenges in obtaining cooperation, with many of our requests ignored and unanswered,” he said.
Brammertz recalled that cooperation to track the fugitives is not only a legal requirement but also a moral obligation to the victims and survivors.
“The victims and survivors of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda deserve nothing less than our collective best efforts,” he said.
Brammertz paid tribute to the victims and survivors of the Genocide, noting that their demand for justice, trust and support made his work possible.
He pointed out that it is vitally important for the victims and survivors in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia that the crimes they suffered are recognized and acknowledged.
‘Denial of crimes a challenge’
He also noted that denial of crimes and glorification of convicted war criminals remain a challenge.
“It is vitally important for the victims and survivors in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia that the crimes they suffered are recognized and acknowledged. There are still concerted efforts to deny the genocide in Rwanda. The prosecution of alleged criminals is not the end of the justice process,” he said.
The prosecutor further informed the Security Council that, through DNA analysis, his office had confirmed the death of the former Minister for Defence in the interim (genocidal) government Augustin Bizimana, who was another major fugitive wanted by the UN tribunal.
The Acting Deputy Permanent Representative U.S. Mission to the United Nations, Amb. Cherith Norman Chalet, also touched on the issue of Genocide denial which he called ‘troubling’.
He pledged his country’s support to the Mechanism’s efforts to apprehend the remaining fugitives, reiterating the offer of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest, transfer, or conviction of any of the remaining fugitives.
“We strongly urge all countries to cooperate fully with the Residual Mechanism and bring these people, wanted for some of the worst crimes in history, to justice,” he said.