Arusha, August 15, 2002 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on Wednesday dropped all charges against former Rwandan military officer and genocide suspect Léonidas Rusatira. Rusatira has since May been in custody in Belgium where he was arrested in May.

0 min 57Approximate reading time

The prosecution filed a motion on Monday requesting for the withdrawal of the indictment against Rusatira. "The evidence obtained in the course of further investigation of the accused has been found to be insufficient at this time to proceed to trial", reads part of the motion. In a decision on the motion ordering the "immediate" withdrawal of the arrest warrant, lone judge Navanethem Pillay of South Africa also accepted the prosecutor's reservation that "a withdrawal of the indictment does not preclude the prosecutor from seeking an indictment on the same counts or other counts in the future, based on evidence gathered in ongoing investigations. "Rusatira's arrest in May drew criticisms against the prosecutor from various observer organisations. Brussels based International Crisis Group (ICG), accused the ICTR of lacking focus in its investigation process. Rusatira is also said to have hidden several ethnic Tutsis during the genocide. Rusatira had been mainly indicted for allegedly participating in the killings of about 2,000 Tutsi refugees at the Ecole Technique Officielle Don Bosco (ETO), an institute of technology in the Rwandan capital Kigali. The refugees were killed in April, 1994, after UN peacekeeping forces that had been guarding the complex were evacuated from the country. GG/DO/FH(PR-0815e)