Annual Report: Rwanda 2011

May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Rwanda 2011

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Military justice

Several high-ranking military officials were arrested and detained without charge. They were denied access to legal counsel and held under house arrest or incommunicado in military detention for several months.

  • Lt. Col. Rugigana Ngabo, the younger brother of Kayumba Nyamwasa, was arrested in August on allegations of destabilizing national security. He was held incommunicado without charge.

International justice

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

The mandate of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was extended until the end of 2011 for first-instance trials and to the end of 2012 for appeals. Ten suspects subject to arrest warrants by the ICTR remained at large. The ICTR Prosecutor made new applications in November to transfer cases to Rwanda. Past applications failed after Trial Chambers decided that the accused would not receive fair trials.

Universal jurisdiction – genocide suspects living abroad

Judicial proceedings against genocide suspects took place in Belgium, Finland, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the USA. Sweden consented to extradition in 2009, but the case has yet to be decided before the European Court of Human Rights. No country extradited genocide suspects to Rwanda due to fair trial concerns.

International Criminal Court

The Rwandan executive secretary of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), Callixte Mbarushimana, was arrested in October in France after an arrest warrant was issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in eastern DRC in 2009. France had granted him refugee status in 2003 and French prosecuting authorities had declined to open criminal investigations into earlier allegations of his involvement in the Rwandan genocide. In November, his surrender to the ICC was ordered by the Paris Appeal Court.

Impunity for war crimes and crimes against humanity

  • A Spanish judge requested the extradition of Kayumba Nyamwasa from South Africa, where he fled from Rwanda in February. He was indicted by Spain in 2008 on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in 1994, as well as the murder of three Spanish aid workers in 1997 in Rwanda. Rwanda also requested his extradition on charges of threatening state security. South Africa had not acted on either request by the end of the year.
  • French magistrates conducted investigations in Rwanda in September into the shooting down of the plane in April 1994 which killed Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana and sparked the genocide. It was the first time that French magistrates had visited Rwanda as part of their investigations. French judges dropped international arrest warrants issued in November 2006 against nine senior RPF members for shooting down the plane, in which French nationals were also killed, and instead placed some of these individuals under investigation.

Failure to investigate and prosecute killings

Rwandan authorities failed to adequately investigate and prosecute killings before the elections.

  • André Kagwa Rwisereka, Vice President of the opposition Democratic Green Party, was found dead in Butare on 14 July. André Rwisereka, who left the RPF to create the Democratic Green Party, had been concerned for his security in the weeks before his murder. The police opened investigations, but the prosecution claimed to have insufficient evidence to press charges.
  • Denis Ntare Semadwinga was stabbed to death at his home in Gisenyi on 20 June. Before his murder, he had been questioned by Rwandan security services about his relationship with Laurent Nkunda.