Arusha,6 June 2008 (FH)-The Prosecutor of International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Justice Hassan Jallow, has for the first time confirmed that some soldiers of the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) had committed atrocities during the 1994 genocide.

1 min 48Approximate reading time

The investigations have been underway for now more than ten years against RPF soldiers.

Justice Jallow's predecessor, Swiss Carla Del Ponte, was the first to disclose over the RP investigations during her tenure as the ICTR prosecutor between 1999 and 2003.

"It has been established that on 5 June,1994, RPF soldiers had killed 13 clergymen and two other civilians at Gitarana[central Rwanda]", Mr Jallow told the UN Security Council on Wednesday when tabling his six-monthly report of the Court's exit strategy. RPF is currently in power under President Paul Kagame, which is credited for stopping the genocide.

Some of the perpetrators are reportedly to have died, while others are now serving within the Rwanda army, he said, adding that the Rwandan Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga, had said that he would shortly indict the implicated soldiers. "The Prosecutor's Office will monitor those proceedings," he stated.

Rwanda shared concurrent jurisdiction with the tribunal over such offences.

The Rwandan government in the past has been furious over the investigations and even reached a boiling point by refusing to co-operate with the UN tribunal and once even denied entry visa to Carla Del Ponte.

Mr Jallow has also asked the Security Council to extend the exit strategy by a year, up to next year, because of recent three new arrests and to allow smooth conclusion of pending cases.

"Due to the new circumstances, an extension of the trial mandate should now be granted to 2009," he urged.

The three new arrests are: former Minister for Youth and Sports Callixte Nsabonimana, former Deputy Governor Dominique Ntawukuriryayo and former Planning Minister, Augustin Ngirabatware. Nsabomina has already appeared before the UN Court and has pleaded not guilty to charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Ntawukuriryayo was transferred from France on Thursday and is planned to make an initial appearance early next week. Ngirabatware is still detained in Germany.

Mr Jallow also pressed Kenya to help cooperate for the arrest of fugitive Felicien Kabuga, alleged financier of the genocide. He is believed to be living in Kenya.

"Kenya must now proceed to maintain an active search for the fugitive within its territory, with view to arresting him and transferring him to the tribunal,'' said the Gambian-born prosecutor.

The ICTR boss also wanted the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo to render all necessary support to arrest indictees.

The tribunal has tried 35 people while 28 others are currently on trial. Eleven trials are on-going, four of which have closed and are awaiting judgments.

The arrival of Ntawukuriryayo in Arusha brings the number of people still awaiting trial in Arusha to eight.


© Hirondelle News Agency