Rwanda: ICTR acquitted without host country

Aug 12th, 2012 at 20:57 | By | 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

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