Home Special Report 2020: A year of reckoning for genocidaires

2020: A year of reckoning for genocidaires

By Patience Kirabo

Notorious Genocidaires: (L-R) Felicien Kabuga, Ladislas Ntaganzwa and Fabien Neretse

Barely six months into the year and the who masterminds of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi together with offshoot groups are facing the hardest days since the atrocities they committed 26 years ago, as unfolding events indicate. Those who are still roaming freely around the globe must be in extreme panic after the arrests and convictions of their fellows, observers say.

The month of May especially has been a major blow to the genocidaires’ camp. It has seen the arrest of Felicien Kabuga, the financier of the genocide and brought confirmation of Augustin Bizimana’s death –the defense minister during the genocide died in 2000 in Congo Brazzaville where he fled. News also has been announced that Fabien Neretse was found guilty of genocide, murder, war crimes and crimes against humanity by a Brussels court. Also Ladislas Ntaganzwa a major genocidaire has been sentenced to life.

The criminal suspects had eluded justice for years, and many, like Kabuga, for decades. They enjoyed safe havens in their host countries.

Ntaganzwa was the Mayor (Bourgmestre) of Nyakizu in Nyaruguru District in the 1994 Genocide era. The 58-year-old was arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2015 and extradited to Rwanda the following year. He has been tried and convicted by the High Court Chamber for International Crimes in Nyanza on Thursday, May 28. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes that included genocide, rape, murder, and incitement to commit genocide.

Kabuga, who had been on the run for 26 years was arrested in Asnières-Sur-Seine, near Paris, France, on May 16, 2020 and is currently under trial. Fellow fugitive Augustin Bizimana was also on the list of the most wanted for masterminding the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and was indicted by the UN court, until it was confirmed he had died two decades ago. The UN’s conclusive identification of Bizimana’s remains in a gravesite in Pointe Noire, Congo-Brazzaville, has crossed him off the list of wanted genocidaires.

Fabien Neretse, 71, a member of Habyarimana’s MRND was, in December last year found guilty of a string of atrocities and crimes against. His appeal against the ruling is to be heard by the Court de Cassation of Brussels. Although most of the suspected criminals are being brought out of their hideouts in the long run, more is still to be done to bring others to justice.

Genocide fugitives continue to roam free, with many using aliases, changes of identity and nationality and so on to evade the law.

But going by the preceding events, it is a matter of time before each of them get their day in court.

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