Kigali, December 18, 2009 (FH) - The Rwandan minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama, declared on Friday that the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) had become a stage for "judiciary theatre".

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Speaking on Radio Rwanda, he blamed the international tribunal for pronouncing "shocking" acquittals.

He mainly criticized the acquittal, last month, of Protais Zigiranyirazo, a brother-in-law of former president Juvénal Habyarimana. "This decision shocked the Rwandan nation, the Rwandan citizens and maybe even Zigiranyirazo himself - as he knows he is not innocent", Tharcisse Karugarama said.

"The tribunal has become a stage for judiciary theatre", the minister added, repeating that Zigiranyirazo was one of the principal planners of the 1994 genocide.  

In a letter dated December 7, the main organization of Rwandan genocide survivors, Ibuka, accused the ICTR of trivializing the genocide and encouraging denialism through "recurring acquittals".

Ibuka was referring to the "acquittals of former politicians and soldiers who played an irrefutable role in planning and perpetrating the genocide against Tutsis and crimes against humanity".  

The organization urged the Rwandan government to "immediately take appropriate measures to prevent the ICTR from further trivializing the genocide".

The organization suggested that such measures include "no longer authorizing defence lawyers and investigators of the ICTR to enter the territory of Rwanda", as they were conspiring with genocide convicts to fabricate evidence for their defence.

According to Ibuka, "such unacceptable practices encourage the denial of the genocide which is growing in Western countries because of a network of lobbies headed by ICTR defence counsels, university professors and journalists".

Since its creation, the ICTR has acquitted eight persons out of total of 48 who have so far been tried by the international tribunal.


© Hirondelle News Agency