Arusha, 26 October 2007 (FH) - "Formal" talks are currently being held between Kigali and Brussels on the next step of the conviction by Rwandan courts of the former Rwandan prefect, Emmanuel Bagambiki, welcomed by Belgium in July after his acquittal by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), it was learned Friday from an official Rwandan source.

1 min 24Approximate reading time

Prefect of Cyangugu (southern Rwanda) during the 1994 genocide, Bagambiki was convicted in abstentia on 10 October for rapes and incitement to commit rapes by the first instance court of Rusizi, in his native region.
"Formal talks are being held. Rwanda and Belgium are discussing the ways and means to end the trial in a final manner ", indicated to the Hirondelle agency the special representative of the Rwandan government to the ICTR, Aloys Mutabingwa, estimating that two options are possible.
"Belgium can extradite him to Rwanda; in this case, his trial would start again under the terms of the Rwandan law which foresees a revision when someone convicted in abstentia presents themselves", explained the Rwandan diplomat.

"It can also ask for the case and try him; it has jurisdiction; it has already tried other Rwandans accused of having played a part in the genocide (of 1994)", added Mutabingwa.

Bagambiki, who had requested for several months to be brought together with his family, arrived in July in Brussels after some administrative adventures. He joined his wife and his children.

The Rwandan government, which had issued an arrest warrant for him, had criticized the ICTR, accusing it of having helped the former prefect to enter Belgium. The authorities in Brussels had initially been, themselves, very reticent to grant a visa of entry to him.

On 25 February 2004, the ICTR acquitted Bagambiki of crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity, and this judgment was confirmed in appeal on 8 February 2006.
But Kigali had at once announced the opening, against the former prefect, of legal proceedings for rapes, the crimes for which he had not been tried before the United Nations tribunal. The ICTR had answered that, not having territorial sovereignty, it did not have the jurisdiction to carry out an unspecified arrest warrant.

© Hirondelle News Agency