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Kigali awaits decision by Belgian judiciary on three Genocide fugitives

Leave a comment / By: manifel / 06 October, 2020 09:03:21AM
Kigali awaits decision by Belgian judiciary on three Genocide fugitives

Rwanda is waiting to see what courts in Belgium decide after the arrest of three Rwandan Genocide fugitives there last week, an official has told The New Times. They are Pierre Basabose, Séraphin Twahirwa and Christophe Ndangali. 

 According to the National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) spokesperson, Faustin Nkusi, the trio was arrested based on indictments sent by Kigali more than a decade ago and the Prosecutor's office is following developments in Brussels though it is too early to tell which direction the wind blows. 

"After they got arrested, everything must now follow the courts' procedures in Belgium. They will decide on what next; be it extradition to Rwanda, or trial in Brussels. These are the things we are waiting for. And it is the courts to determine," Nkusi told The New Times. 

 "It is important to note that these suspects were arrested based on Rwanda's past requests. We have been working with the Belgian judiciary authorities. They came here to investigate."  

 The three suspects were arrested in Belgium last week on Tuesday and Wednesday and they are wanted for Genocide, and extermination after their involvement in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.  

Prof Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu, president of the Genocide survivors umbrella group, Ibuka, told The New Times that as has happened with similar cases in Belgium, in the past, he expects no extradition. Nonetheless, he said, there must be justice. 

Dusingizemungu said: "They have always said that they have the competence to handle these cases. But for us we always prefer they be brought here for trial." 

 Delayed justice hampering survivors' reconstruction

Ibuka welcomes any such arrests in Belgium. Moreover, Dusingizemungu stressed, the delays are "a big concern" since authorities in the European country know where these mass murderers are but take long to act.

 "We ask: why wait for 26 years to arrest them, and only three? They (Belgian authorities) knew, for long, the charges against them, their locations, and all information," Dusingizemungu said.

 "Our appeal consistently has been that there should be no delay in delivering justice in these cases. And especially not to just pick out one or two of these killers after a decade while many roam free. The authorities in Belgium can do better; they should stop dragging their feet especially as regards known genocidaires on their territory."

Emphasising the need to stop delaying justice, Dusingizemungu noted that the latter behaviour by European countries is actually delaying the process of psycho-social reconstruction for genocide survivors.

"Delaying justice by protecting the mass killers in this manner is delaying survivors' reconstruction. It doesn't help because a survivor's psycho-social reconstruction journey involves justice." 

Number two on RTLM contributing list

According to Kigali, Basabose was indicted in June 2015 for the crimes of Genocide and extermination. 

He is a former soldier who left the military and started business.

 He owned a foreign exchange bureau in Kigali. He is, according to Prosecution in Kigali, known to have given guns and money to Interahamwe militia so they kill the Tutsi in the Gatenga area of Kicukiro, Kigali and in Gikondo.

Basabose is a former member of President Juvenal Habyarimana's protection unit and former driver Col Elie Sagatwa, left the army and became a prominent businessman.

Col. Sagatwa was one of the leading masterminds of the Genocide and brother to former First Lady, Agathe Kanziga Habyarimana. The latter, who is in France, is also a top wanted Genocidaire. 

Also now known is that Basabose is number two on the extremist Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) contributing list as he contributed Rwf600,000. 

Number one is Juvenal Habyarimana with Rwf1,000,000 while businessman Felicien Kabuga, now also under detention in France, is third with Rwf500,000. 

Basabose is known as a genocidaire of the first category. He was first spotted in Belgium in 1997. 

Twahirwa on the other hand worked in the Ministry of public service (Minitrape). He was indicted in June 2014. 

He is accused of Genocide, conspiracy and extermination.

 He formed an Interahamwe millitia group - Operation CDR Suicide Kimya - that comprised 600 murderers that killed the Tutsi in Karambo/Gatenga and in Gikondo. 

Prosecution also says he worked in the Interahamwe headquarters. Ngangali worked in the Ministry of primary and secondary education (Minipresec). 

He was indicted by Rwanda in November 2012 for Genocide, conspiracy and extermination. 

According to Prosecution, he was in charge of patrolling and inspecting roadblocks in Kacyiru and Giti Cy'Inyoni areas of Kigali. 

He is also known to have presided over meetings that planned killings in Gisenyi (now Rubavu) and Rugengeri (Musanze) areas. 

 Last December, a Belgium court sentenced Genocide suspect Fabien Neretse, 71, to 25 years in jail after being found guilty of Genocide, murder, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

This was not the first Genocide trial in the Kingdom of Belgium. 

But it was the first time that a criminal prosecution and conviction was based on a law punishing genocide, introduced there in 2017.

 Neretse's was the fifth trial held in Brussels in connection with the 1994 Genocide. 

 Previous trials including that of two catholic nuns, found guilty, in 2001, of participating in the massacre of more than 7,600 people at the Sovu convent in Butare, were based on a universal jurisdiction punishing people for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Initially, three trials; the one of Neretse, Emmanuel Nkunduwimye and Ernest Gakwaya were to happen at the same time. 

 On October 9, 2019, a court decided to first hear Neretse’s case separately. The rationale was that the other two’s charges were over killings committed in Kigali alone yet Neretse’s crimes were also committed in his home region, formerly Ruhengeri, now Musanze. 

The two other suspects - arrested in 2011 in Brussels - Nkunduwimye and Gakwaya are, among others, suspected of having been active members of the Interahamwe militia, something they deny. 

Formed around 1990, the Interahamwe was the youth wing of the MRND, the then-ruling party which spearheaded the 1994 Genocide

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