THE Prosecutor of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism), Serge Brammertz of the United Nations Security Council has said that the pretrial work on Rwandan genocide suspect Félicien Kabuga was proceeding well.
Last month, Mr Kabuga who stands charged of seven counts of genocide and crimes against humanity appeared before Judge Iain Bonomy from the United Kingdom in The Hague.
But in his address to the UN’s Security Council, Judge Brammertz said the proceedings were going according to plan despite Covid-19 related restrictions.
“The office of the prosecutor is intensively working to ready the case for trial and meet its pre-trial obligations,” assured the Mechanism Prosecutor.
Judge Brammertz further highlighted and expressed his office’s gratitude for the strong cooperation being provided by the Rwandan government in relation to Mr Kabuga’s case.
Mr Kabuga spent years on the run using a succession of false passports, with investigators saying that he had been helped by a network of former Rwandan allies to evade justice.
His lawyers argue that he should be tried in France, but France’s top court ruled that he should be moved to UN custody. Kabuga was initially to be transferred to the UN court’s facility in Arusha, Tanzania, which took over the defunct International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) duties when it formally closed in 2015.
Commenting on the search for the remaining fugitives indicted by the ICTR, Prosecutor Brammertz briefed the Security Council that Fulgence Kayishema still remained at large due to South Africa’s failure to provide effective cooperation over the last two and a half years.
He has been indicted for genocide and crimes against humanity. Kayishema was the police inspector of the Kivumu commune, in the Kibuye Prefecture, during the massacre of thousands of Tutsis and Hutu moderates in the Nyarubuye massacre in April 1994.
The United States of America has since placed a $5 Million bounty on his head to individuals who will furnish information leading to his arrest, transfer, or conviction.
The Prosecutor reported that South Africa is still not providing the cooperation required. “The absence of effective cooperation continues to set back our work…as my Office works to resolve the challenges we face, the firm support of the Security Council will be vital. Member States should understand that when my Office requests their cooperation, we are acting with the authority given to us by the Security Council,” he added.