The Rwandan Commission of fighting Genocide (CNLG) commends Germany for its cooperation in the fight against impunity for genocide perpetrators and calls on other States to implement the obligation to punish the crime of genocide. This occurs after Germany extradited to Rwanda, on 18 August 2017, Jean Twagiramungu for his alleged role in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
In addition to the extradition of Jean Twagiramungu, CNLG expresses its gratitude to Germany for the three trials it has already carried out against Rwandan genocide perpetrators: Onesphore Rwabukombe, former Mayor of Muvumba who was convicted of genocide and sentenced to life on 29 December 2015 by the Frankfurt Court of Appeal.
On 28 September 2015, two FDLR political leaders, Ignace Murwanashyaka and Straton Musoni, were sentenced to 13 years and 8 years in prison, respectively. CNLG encourages Germany to pursue this path of abhorring impunity and to extradite other remaining perpetrators of genocide on its territory.
Some countries such as The US have already extradited to Rwanda some genocide fugitives including Enos Kagaba in 2005 and Leopold Munyakazi in 2016. Canada extradited Leon MUGESERA in 2012, Denmark extradited Emmanuel Mbarushimana in 2014, Norway extradited Charles Bandora in 2013, The Netherlands extradited Jean Baptiste Mugimba and Jean Claude Iyamuremye in 2017.
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda transferred Bernard Munyagishari, Jean Uwinkindi and Ladislas Ntaganzwa to Rwanda. Files of genocide suspects Fulgence Kayishema, Phéneas Munyarugarama, Aloys Ndimbati, Charles Ryandikayo and Charles Sikubwabo who have not yet been arrested, have also been transferred by the ICTR to the Rwandan courts.
The International Convention of 9 December 1948 on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide establishes in its article 1 an obligation for all States to punish perpetrators and accomplices of genocide.
Twagiramungu’s role in former Gikongoro prefecture
Complying with that international obligation, Evidence shows that during genocide Jean Twagiramungu collaborated with officials in planning and commission of genocide in the communes of Karambo, Rukondo, Karama, Kinyamakara, Nyamagabe and Musange.
Those include sous-prefets Joachim Hategekimana and Joseph Ntegeyintwali who headed the sous-prefectures of Kaduha and Karaba; the mayors Didace Hategekimana, Désiré Ngezahayo, Charles Munyaneza and Félicien Semakwavu, who headed the Communes of Rukondo, Karama, Kinyamakara and Nyamagabe, respectively. He often acted alongside his father, Jean-Baptiste Munyambuga, who was for several years a mayor of Rukondo Commune.
Jean Twagiramungu, with other militia, participated in killings of Tutsis in the Catholic parishes of Mbazi and Kirambi and in the ADEPR church of Maheresho. A total of more than 10,000 victims perished in these different places. Many others have not been found by, as they were thrown in Mwogo and Rukarara rivers.
Jean Twagiramungu is also cited as an accomplice in the massacres of Tutsi in the parishes of Kaduha (45,000 dead) and Cyanika (35,000 dead). Approximately 100,000 were killed under his instructions.
The former prefecture of Gikongoro, in the South of Rwanda, has for long been a scene of atrocious assassinations of Tutsis. In December 1963 alone, more than 20,000 Tutsis were massacred in two weeks.
The term “Genocide” was already used at that time by experts such as the British researcher Bertrand Russel, international witnesses present in Rwanda, including the Belgian anthropologist Luc De Heusch and the Swiss Denis-Gilles Vuillemin who was a UNESCO aid worker.
Several international newspapers, including Radio Vatican and Radio France International, had described these massacres as “the most terrible systematic genocide committed since the extermination of the Jews in 1945.”
However, there are other countries such as France and England that have refused extradition to Rwanda of genocide suspects.
For instance, England recently denied the extradition of Celestin Ugirashebuja, Charles Munyaneza, Vincent Bajinya, Emmanuel Nteziryayo and Célestin Mutabaruka who are alleged of conspiracy and participation in genocide and crimes against humanity.
Another case, that of Modeste Kennedy Hakizimana, pursued for his role in the genocide at the National University of Rwanda where he studied Sciences in 1994 also did not come to fruition.
For several years, the British administration refused to grant him political refugee status after considering that there were serious reasons to believe that he was guilty of genocide.
France has systematically rejected all requests for extradition made by Rwanda. Examples include: Agathe Kanziga-Habyarimana, Callixte Mbarushimana, Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, Marcel Hitayezu, Colonel Laurent Serubuga, Colonel Marcel Bivugabagabo, Dr Eugène Rwamucyo, Dr Sosthène Munyemana, Hyacinthe Rafiki-Nsengiyumva, Isaac Kamali Muhayimana, Claver Kamana, Innocent Musabyimana, Joseph Habyarimana, Venuste Nyombayire, Pierre Tegera, Charles Twagira, Paul Kanyamihigo a.k.a Camy, Fabien Neretse, Manassé Bigwenzare, Enock Kayondo, etc.
It is high time for these states complied with their international obligation to put an end to the factual impunity they are giving to the perpetrators of the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi.
Jean Baptiste Karegeya