Arusha, December 5, 2011 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) made a special appeal to the United Nations Security Council to find a lasting solution of getting host countries to acquitted persons who remain in safe houses under the Tribunal's protection.

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‘'The Tribunal has had no other choice but to call upon the assistance of the Security Council to find a sustainable solution to this issue,'' stated ICTR President, Judge Khalida Rachid Khan in a letter to the President of the Council.

She explained that efforts to find host countries for the five acquitted persons proved unsuccessful due to the absence of a formal mechanism to secure the support of the member states to accept those persons in their countries.

Three persons whose acquittals have been confirmed on appeal are still trying to find a host country. They are former Rwandan Transport Minister André Ntagerura, General Gratien Kabiligi and Protais Zigiranyirazo, brother-in-law of the late former president Juvénal Habyarimana.

Two more people are waiting to know whether their acquittals will be confirmed by the ICTR Appeals Chamber including, former Foreign Affairs Minister Jérôme Bicamumpaka and former Health Minister Casimir Bizimungu.

Ntagerura has been looking for a host country for the longest time. He was acquitted by the lower court in February 2004 and the decision was confirmed on appeal in February 2006.

‘'The Tribunal considers the settlement of persons acquitted by an international criminal tribunal to be a fundamental expression of the rule of law and is concerned about the consequences of failing to fulfill this obligation,'' ICTR President underlined.

In the same letter, President Khan also told the Security Council that the effort to track down the remaining nine fugitives including the top on the list, Felicien Kabuga, the alleged financier of genocide was still on. ‘'The Prosecutor continues to seek due diligent from Kenya in the discharge of its international obligation pursuant to Security Council resolution 1966 (2010) by expediting work on the tracking and arrest of this top-level fugitive,''   she states.

Apart from Kenya, the letter also called upon other member states especially the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the neigbouring Great Lakes countries and countries in the Southern African region to double efforts in tracking down the remaining fugitives believed to be in the hide out in those countries.

The other two most wanted fugitives are ex-Rwandan minister for Defence, Augustine Bizimana and former Presidential Guard Commander, Major Protais Mpiranya.

ICTR President Judge Khan and the Prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow are expected next Wednesday, December 7, 2011 to present before the UN Assembly in New York reports on the progress and challenges facing the Tribunal in the implementation of the exit strategy. It was expected that the Tribunal would conclude its first instance trials by December 31, 2011 but it is now evident that it is not possible despite all the efforts made.


© Hirondelle News Agency