Rwandans criticise Arusha court for failing to punish former RPF soldiers for crimes against humanity committed in 1994For some time, Umuvugizi.com has been carrying out investigations on how the international criminal court for Rwanda based in Arusha Tanzania works and how Rwandans judge it.
The Rwandans interviewed said the court did not fully do its job in that it only prosecuted genocide suspects and exonerated former RPF soldiers who are also alleged of having committed serious crimes against humanity in the same period .
Rugumaho Benoit lives in Sweden, says the court failed to fulfill its mandate as in accordance to the UN resolution no. 955 which called for punishing all crimes committed between January 1st, and December 31st 1994.
“Up to today that court has only managed to arrest and prosecute those accused of genocide but failed to punish other Rwandans who committed the different crimes against humanity during the stipulated period” Rugumaho said.
Rugumaho argued that besides that court failing to prosecute the former RPF fighters suspected of committing crimes during the period, it also failed to investigate into the downing of the plane that carried Presidents Habyarimana of Rwanda and Ntaryamira of Burundi. He is worried of the court’s closure of duties without bringing to justice those who committed such terrorist action of shooting down that plane which was carrying two presidents and had french nationals at the board.
Innocent Mpambara who also lives in Sweden said that while the Arusha court tried to prosecute those suspected of committing the genocide, it however failed to handle both sides of the conflict as expected.
“The Arusha court has failed to arrest and prosecute anyone of the former RPF soldiers accused of committing crimes during the same period ,” Mpambara said.
According to Musangamfura Sixbert who lives in Finland says the Arusha court did not provide justice, it only punished those suspected of committing genocide but failed to punish the other side of the conflict which comprised of the RPF fighters who were also involved in the killings and other related crimes.
“The UN decided not to put the court in Kigali in order to allow its independence from the Rwandan government but it is shocking how the ICTR is considering transferring remaining cases to Rwanda to be handled by the same government that the UN feared its influence because some of it’s officials are also accused of having committed related crimes . The court should not have decided to transfer those accused of genocide crimes to Rwanda where the international human rights groups have also continued to criticise the operation of the judiciary which proves that it is not independent,” Musangamfura explains.
Karekezi Francois who lives in Belgium told us that up to now Rwandans wonders why the Arusha tribunal managed to only punish genocide crimes but failed to punish other Rwandans who committed other crimes against humanity.
Karekezi strongly urged ICTR to continue with the case file opened by judge Carla Delponte, which had investigated and recommended that such serious crimes against humanity committed by former RPF fighters sould be punished , as the only way to reconcile and unite Rwandans.