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Africa

Rwanda tribunal seeks safehouse for acquitted former minister

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-10-07

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has asked the UN to help find a new host country for Rwanda's former transport minister, Andre Ntagerura. Acquitted of any role in the 1994 genocide, he is being housed in Tanzania by the ICTR.

AFP - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has asked the UN secretary-general to help find a host country for an acquitted man, Andre Ntagerura, a court spokesman said Thursday.
  
The transport minister in Rwanda's government during the genocide of Tutsis in 1994, Ntagerura was acquitted of any part in the mass slaughter after his trial in February 2004, and again on appeal two years later.
  
He currently lives in a safe house at the expense of the ICTR near its premises at Arusha, in northern Tanzania. The premises are shared by General Gratien Kabiligi, who was acquitted in December 2008, and Protais Zigiranyirazo, known as "Monsieur Z," who was acquitted by the court of appeal in November 2009.
  
The ICTR, which was set up by the UN Security Council in 1994 to try key suspects in the genocide that claimed about 800,000 lives, is trying to find host countries to take in people who have been tried and acquitted.
  
In theory, they are free to leave Arusha, but have concerns for their own safety and nowhere to live.
  
"For Ntagerura, the court clerk's office has been making efforts for five years. His dossier is on the desk of the (UN) secretary-general (Ban Ki-moon). The United Nations is very sensitive to his case, which is symbolic," ICTR spokesman Roland Amoussouga told AFP.
  
"The ICTR has sought the help of the secretary-general and of the (UN) service for legal affairs," Amoussouga said, adding that the two other acquitted men had also not been forgotten.
  
"All three have expressed the wish to find a host country in the West. We are pursuing our efforts and support the efforts made by their lawyers," the spokesman added.
  
Zigiranyirazo is the brother of Agathe Kanziga, the widow of ex-president Juvenal Habyarimana, who is currently under investigation in France for her alleged role in the genocide.
  
The 100 days of slaughter in Rwanda began just after Habyarimana was killed on April 6, 1994, when his plane was shot down over the capital Kigali. Fellow president Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi was on board and also died.
  
Each time he addresses the UN Security Council or Assembly General, ICTR president Dennis Byron calls on member states to take in those whom the tribunal has acquitted. In all, the tribunal has acquitted eight people, five of whom have found host countries.
  
According to the ICTR web site, 34 suspects have been found guilty and 10 are currently pending appeal.

Date created : 2010-10-07

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