Free but not freed

13 March 2006 by our correspondent in Arusha

In February 2004, André Ntagerura, former government minister, and Emmanuel Bagambiki, former prefect, were acquitted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Yet they remained in detention during the two-year appeals process. On February 8, 2006, their acquittals were upheld, but they are still under house arrest. No country wants to take in a genocide suspect, even one who has been cleared by an international court.

"Persons prosecuted at the tribunal have not in the past been assured of a country of relocation after service of their sentences, or even after acquittal. However, it is recognized that such relocation is an obligation that must be met by the United Nations and its members," wrote ICTR prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow in a recent motion in which he was trying to defend the interests of another accused who had agreed to cooperate. And yet two acquitted ICTR defendants are still deprived of their liberty and none of the human rights organizations seem to care.

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