By Melodie Mukansonera
One of the most wanted genocide fugitives, Augustin Bizimana has been confirmed dead by the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT). The confirmation is based on the conclusive identification of Bizimana’s remains in a grave site in Pointe Noire, Congo Brazzaville, as well as subsequent investigations and comparative DNA analysis by the Office of the Prosecution over the last several years.
It is believed Bizimana died in August 2000 in Pointe Noire.
In a statement issued by the prosecutor at the IRMCT on Friday morning, the Prosecutor indicated that, “the Office verified additional evidence concerning the circumstances of Bizimana’s death.”
According to the statement, this confirmation of death is the result of an exhaustive investigation by the Office of the Prosecutor combining advanced technology with extensive field operations, and involved exceptional cooperation with partner authorities in Rwanda, the Republic of the Congo, the Netherlands and the United States. Late last year, the Office conducted DNA analysis on previously-obtained samples of human remains from a grave site in Pointe Noire, the Republic of the Congo.
Bizimana was one of the major architects of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda and was indicted by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1998. He was charged with thirteen counts of genocide, complicity in genocide, extermination, murder, rape, torture, other inhumane acts, persecution, cruel treatment and outrages upon personal dignity.
Among the crimes for which he was charged, Bizimana was said to be responsible for the murders of former Prime Minister Agathe Uwiringiyimana and ten Belgian United Nations peacekeepers, as well as for the murders of Tutsi civilians throughout Gisenyi, Ruhengeri, Butare, Kibuye and Cyangugu prefectures.