Arusha, July 2, 2012 (FH) – The President of the UN's International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRM) Monday promised to track top Rwandan fugitives, as the Mechanism officially assumed some residual duties of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania.

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 “The Mechanism must and will work with the states to ensure that those individuals indicted by ICTR are brought to justice,” declared Judge Theodor Meron at the launch ceremony of the IRM's Arusha branch. The ceremony was attended by representatives of the UN Secretary General, and the governments of Tanzania and Rwanda.

The IRM takes over some of the ICTR's functions, including tracking its top three fugitives. They are the alleged financier of the Rwandan genocide Félicien Kabuga, former commander of the presidential guard Protais Mpiranya, and former Rwandan Defence Minister Augustin Bizimana.


Case files of six other ICTR fugitives considered smaller fry have been handed over to Rwanda. Judge Meron and ICTR Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow, who is also the Prosecutor of the IRM, promised to cooperate with Rwanda to help track them.


The IRM is also responsible for victim and witness protection, supervising the implementation of sentences, assisting states investigating Rwandan genocide suspects on their territory, and managing the Tribunal's archives.


Its launch does not, however, signal the end of the ICTR. The Tribunal must finish all its outstanding first instance and appeals cases by the end of 2014 at the latest.


The IRM has an initial mandate of four years, which can be renewed if necessary. The IRM for the ICTY is due to start work on July 1, 2013.