Rwanda: ICTR acquitted without host countryLaure Uwase | Category: News
Former Ministers Ntagerura (Transport), Casimir Bizimungu (Health), Jerome Bicamumpaka (Foreign Affairs) and former Brigadier General Gratien Kabiligi who, despite their acquittal for several years, have not been entitled to a relocation asked the ICTR President to appoint a special chamber whose purpose among others would beto help the applicants solve their relocation problem.
Free without being free
On 25 February 2006, the acquittal of Ntagerura, former Minister of Transport and Communication, was now casting res judicata. His innocence was no longer a mere presumption, but now irrefutable.
On 18 December 2008 it was the turn of former Brigadier General Gratien Kabiligi to benefit from the acquittal of all charges against him.
“Having not found enough evidence against them, the Chamber acquits Casimir Bizimungu and Jerome Bicamumpaka of all charges. The Chamber orders their immediate release and asks the Registry to make the necessary arrangements” declared Judge Khalida Rachid Khan ICTR President, in September 2011.
However, despite the acquittal, the four former officials remain in the custody of the ICTR. They reside in a “safe house” of the tribunal because, paradoxically, while the ICTR statutes require States to cooperate in searching and arresting accused persons, there is no provision for people cleared from all charges. As a result, they find themselves powerless to the unwillingness of States sought to host them on their soil so they can join their loved ones.
In December 2011, Khalida Rachid Khan — former President of the ICTR, addressed in a report to the UN Security Council the “lack of a formal mechanism” biding States to “accept those persons on their territories “. In its unanimously adopted resolution 2054 (2012), the UN Security Council renewed its call on all States to assist the tribunal in its attempt to find host countries for the aquitted.
The aquitted ones, however, won’t give up and in a recently signed motion by Philippe Larochelle – a Canadian lawyer, he explained that a special Chamber should be created at the ICTR. The Chamber would be responsible for filing applications to different States likely to welcome them.
Looking at different international Conventions on Human Rights, the situation can be problematic and the UN which, has not included rules on the matter at the creation of the ICTR, would have all advantage to looking into this issue.
Translated by BeHarmony
Original french article by Laure Uwase