By Daniel Sabiiti
Rwanda now has the full backing of the United Nations to bring to justice genocide fugitives even when the global body downplayed the genocide killings twenty one years ago.
UN Deputy Secretary General, Jan Eliasson has assured Rwandans that he will do his best to have all genocide suspects arrested as a way to bring justice to genocide survivors.
“We will do our best to back Rwanda in this cause to bring the fugitives to justice” Eliasson said and commended Rwanda for the steps taken in the unity and reconciliation. “This step is a good model to the world”.
Eliasson made the assuring statements while paying a courtesy call to the Rwanda speaker of Parliament, Domitila Mukabalisa in Kimihurura today and headed to the Kigali genocide memorial site to pay his respect and tribute to thousands of genocide victims laid at the site.
Some of the high profile Rwandan genocide fugitives are commonly found in France, Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium, Canada, the USA and a majority in regional and sub-Saharan countries.
In 2015, President Paul Kagame advised Rwandan fugitives living abroad to reconsider their status and return home promising them pardon despite the gravity of their cases.
So far Rwanda has issued about 300 Interpol Red Notices alerting the world about wanted fugitives.
Out of these 17 were arrested and tried in countries where they were, about 75 others were tracked, arrested and extradited to Arusha during the mandate of International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
And 13 were extradited from other countries to Rwanda, but this is a small number compared to over 500 Genocide suspects that are still at large.
The most recent extradition is of the notorious genocide mastermind suspect Dr. Leopald Munyakazi who was transferred to Rwanda in September. He is currently under court detention as he waits to face pretrial hearing on his counts of genocide crimes.
France has of recent been Rwanda’s biggest headache in responding to Kigali’s demands to arrest and try several genocide suspects living in the French Nation.
While countries like Netherlands have requested for more time to try the suspects, France has instead, of recent, turned ‘guns’ on Rwanda reawakening the investigation into the shooting of Habyarimana’s plane in 1994 at Kanombe airport as a justification of genocide denial aimed at picking on its former colony.
President Kagame has referred such moves as intolerable selective international justice, of which Rwanda is ready for another showdown, but this time the race will be different than from the earlier experience where Rwanda bowed down to France’s pressure.