[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported Friday that significant progress as been made [press release] in national and international courts to bring to justice those responsible for the 1994 Rwandan genocide [BBC backgrounder]. The announcement was made in a briefing paper [text, PDF] published to mark the twentieth anniversary of the genocide. HRW also urged the Rwandan government and the international community to pursue efforts to prosecute, “in fair and credible trials,” other perpetrators who are still at large: “The Rwandan authorities should also bring to justice Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) members responsible for carrying out or ordering war crimes or crimes against humanity in 1994, and ensure that families of the victims of these crimes, as well as witnesses, are able to speak freely about these events without fear for their security.” Finally, HRW urged Rwandan authorities to continue reforming its justice system “with a view to further strengthening its independence, and to enable those who suffered serious miscarriages of justice … to seek a review of their cases within a reasonable period.”
Many countries have attempted to assist the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website] in locating and bringing to justice those responsible for war crimes committed during the Rwandan genocide. Last month the ICTR announced that Augustin Ndindiliyimana, the former chief of staff of the Rwandan parliamentary police, and Francois-Xavier Nzuwonemeye, the former commander of a military reconnaissance battalion, had been acquitted on appeal [JURIST report]. In January UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association Maina Kiai praised [JURIST report] Rwandan authorities’ accomplishments in developing infrastructure and ensuring stability and security 1994. In November a French appeals court in Paris approved the extradition [JURIST report] of Claude Muhayimana and Innocent Musabyimana, two suspects wanted in connection with the 1994 Rwandan genocide. In April French law enforcement officials arrested [JURIST report] Tite Barahira, a former Rwandan leader, for conspiracy to commit genocide. In January Rwandan genocide suspect Innocent Musabyimana was arrested [JURIST report] in France on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. In December the ICTR convicted [JURIST report] former Rwandan minister Augustin Ngirabatware, sentencing him to 35 years in prison and concluding the tribunal’s final trial. Ngirabatware was found guilty on charges of genocide, incitement to commit genocide and rape as a crime against humanity. In July 2012 the ICTR Residual Mechanism began its work [UN News Centre report] assisting with the winding down of the ICTR and assuring that all remaining fugitives of the Rwandan genocide face justice.