Rwanda: Genocide suspects stranded


This photo shows a general view of a courtroom during a International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) session at the Arusha International Conference Center where Former Rwanda army's Col. Theoneste Bagosora, Lt. Col. Anatole Nsengiyumva and Maj. Aloys Ntabakuze were sentenced to life in prison on charges of genocide.


Tony Karumba

NAIROBI, Kenya — Genocide suspects who have been cleared of charges by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda remain stuck in a safe house in Tanzania because they fear returning home and no other country will take them in, according to a BBC report today.

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The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has conducted 72 cases against people accused of planning, funding and commanding the 1994 genocide that saw more than 800,000 mostly Tutsi people killed by Hutu death squads.

Of those 10 have been cleared of involvement in the killings but five of these say they cannot go back to Rwanda for fear of persecution, yet no foreign country has been willing to offer them refuge.

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According to the BBC, which interviewed the tribunal's spokesman:

"The five men still living in Arusha and acquitted by the ICTR are all Hutus and include a former brigadier general, ex-ministers and a businessman. They live together in a safe house and can go to town and to church, but otherwise cannot leave.

"Andre Ntagerura — the former minister of transport — has been waiting nearly six years for refuge since his acquittal. The five have been joined in the safe house by two others who have served their sentences, but also have nowhere to go."

Paul Kagame in Rwanda has been highly critical of the ICTR and the cases of these men illustrate both the fear that Kagame's regime instills in its opponents as well as the international community's queasiness when it comes to taking in former suspects, even if they are found innocent of genocide.

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