Arusha, 15 May 2009 (FH) - The Rwandan former Minister for Transport, Andre Ntagerura, has still not found a host country, more than five years after his acquittal by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

1 min 25Approximate reading time

Acquitted by the first instance court in February 2004, then in appeal in February 2006, the former Rwandan official still lives in a "safe house" at the headquarters of the ICTR, in Arusha, in northern Tanzania, paid by the cash-strapped UN Court.

The Spokesperson of ICTR, Roland Amoussouga, said Friday that the negotiations with some governments, which he declined to name, have not yet been successful, but added that consultations are on.

Ntagerura had appeared with the former Governor of Cyangugu ,south-western Rwanda, Emmanuel Bagambiki, also acquitted and who has found asylum in Belgium since July 2007, as well as Lieutenant Samuel Imanishimwe, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison, a sentence which he will finish serving on 8 August.

Others who have been acquitted so far former are Mayors Ignace Bagilishema (Mabanza) and Jean Mpambara (Rukara), former Minister for Education Andre Rwamakuba and  former Brigadier-General of the then Rwandan Army(FAR), Gratien Kabiligi.

The first two were welcomed by France, the former minister by Switzerland, while the General, acquitted at the end of last year, was in the same predicament as Ntagerura.

In an interview with the Hirondelle Agency, in March 2007, ICTR Registrar, Senegalese Adama Dieng, stated clearly that "the problem is likely to be recurring insofar as acquitted persons do not want to go back to Rwanda".

Dieng considered it regrettable that Western countries are "closing their doors" whereas the Tribunal was created by the UN Security Council and that it was the international community must honour the judgements that it renders.

The ICTR statute obliges the UN member states to cooperate for the search of accused and their arrest, but was silent on the future of acquitted persons.

The Registry  was the department in charge of the administration of the Tribunal and of its relations with governments and institutions.

The various appeals issued before the Security Council by the current ICTR President, Dennis Byron, and by his predecessor, Erik Mose, hardly seem to have facilitated Dieng and his staff's task.


© Hirondelle News Agency