Released by Rwanda tribunal but still in Arusha

24 September 2014 by Clive Muhenga, Arusha (Tanzania)

Unlike those acquitted by the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) who have been welcomed home as heroes, Rwandans cleared by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) are leery of returning home. Without travel documents or nations willing to host them, eight remain in limbo in Arusha, the seat of the ICTR. To date, the tribunal has secured new countries of residence for just six of the 14 acquitted so far. 

ICTR plaque
Image caption: 
ICTR plaque (Flickr/adam_jones)

The most recent departure was on 18 September, when General Augustin Ndindiliyimana left for Belgium. The former chief of staff of the Rwandan Gendarmerie had been arrested in 2000 in Belgium, where he was living as a refugee with his family. He was sentenced to 11 years for his role in the 1994 genocide, but was acquitted on appeal in February [IJT-163]. Along with the eight others – some idling for years already in ‘safe houses’ – he leaves behind three Rwandans who have finished serving their sentences.

In conversations with IJT, in which no one wished to be individually quoted, those still in Arusha say they fear returning to Rwanda, where they believe they are still seen as “genocidaires” and could “be assassinated” or “be re-arrested”. All would like travel documents to be able to join their families now resident in Europe or North America.

ICTR talks with Kigali 

Want to read more?

If you subscribe to a free membership, you can read this article and explore our full archive, dating back to 1997.

Subscribe now

Related articles

21 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

Being the ICC's Chief Prosecutor is a delicate and politically sensitivejob.ForLuisMorenoOcampo it has been "the best job in the world." Fatou Bensouda will be taking over his office in June. She inhe

07 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

December 7, 2011 Ivory Coast is the latest playgroundoftheInternationalCriminal Court. This week the courtroom in The Hague became its theatre of justice. Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo proudly p

07 December 2011 by Richard Walker

Four Congolese witnesses testifying at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, find themselves caught in a legal wrangle, which could at once set a legal precedent and make them the last

07 December 2011 by Lindy Janssen

Brazil is booming. The economy is expanding and the country is getting ready to host the Football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. But the Latin American giant has not even begun dealing wi

07 December 2011 by Radosa Milutinovic

The primary purpose of the retrial of Ramush Haradinaj, as proclaimed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in its appeal judgement in July, should have been to hear testimonies of two "key" witnesses who proved unwilling to testify in the original trial in 2007. Almost four months into the retrial which started in mid-August, its stated aim has not yet been achieved.