Rwanda accuses ICTR of illegal release of convicts

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The Rwanda National Commission for the fight against Genocide (CNLG) has accused the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR) of having released some Genocide convicts before completing their jail terms.

The Kigali based commission has singled out Judge Theodore Meron, who is currently running the residual UN court.

The residual court has been given a mandate to complete the remaining cases of genocide suspects, after the official closure of ICTR operations.

According to Dr. Bizimana Jean Damascene, the head of the commission, Meron and the court have for the past five years been conducting illegal operations without the knowledge of the UN Security Council which put in place the ICTR and its residual court.

Examples according to CNLG include the cases of Omar Serushago, Georges Ruggiu, Michel Bagaragaza, and Dr. Gerard Ntakirutimana all whom were released yet they were sentenced to between 30 and life.

Meanwhile, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete recently appealed to all countries that host the remaining suspects of the Rwandan Genocide to surrender them to Arusha for trial.

He issued the plea while laying the foundation stone for the ongoing construction of the proposed UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICTs) at the Laki-Laki Hills of the Kisongo wilderness on the outskirts of Arusha.

The UN Security Council Resolution 1966 (2010) established the MICTs that became effective three years ago.

The tribunal is supposed to complete the remaining work of the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), after the completion of their respective mandates.

The mechanism will serve as residual cases’ court building, archives holder, Rwanda 1994 genocide museum and educational centre on information related to the ICTR and Rwanda.

Thirty Three people are currently serving prison sentences, Eleven have finished their sentences and have been released and three have died while serving prison sentences. Three suspects remain at large as fugitives