Global Policy Forum

Thousands Demonstrate Against UN Tribunal


An estimated 10,000 people turned up on the streets of the south west Rwanda town of Cyangugu on Thursday to demonstrate against the acquittal of two senior leaders from the province on genocide charges by the UN International Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The ICTR on Wednesday absolved former prefect of Cyangugu Emmanuel Bagambiki and former minister of transport and telecommunications, André Ntagerura who hails from the province, of any responsibility in the killings that took place in the province during the 1994 genocide. Former military commander of Karambo military barracks in Cyangugu, Samuel Imanishimwe was found guilty of ordering and abetting the killings of many ethnic Tutsis that had taken refuge at a football pitch on the outskirts of the town. He was sentenced to 27 years in jail. Demonstrators carrying placards denouncing "revisionist ICTR", "useless UN" and "Bagambiki the killer" among others matched along the main streets chanting anti-ICTR and anti-UN slogans. The demonstrators called on the ICTR to reconsider the judgement. Leaders of civil society organisations and genocide survivors made speeches denouncing the ICTR, Bagambiki, Ntagerura and Imanishimwe. Demonstrations against the ICTR judgements on Friday also took place in Kigali-Rural province. Bagambiki was prefect of that province prior to being transferred to Cyangugu. He has been accused of responsibility in the 1992 killings of ethnic Tutsis in the Bugesera region of Kigali-Rural province. The judgements enraged the Rwandan government and genocide survivors. A communiqué from the ministry of justice on Thursday "categorically denounced" the decision to acquit Bagambiki and Ntagerura. It also called for a tougher sentence for Imanishimwe. The prosecutor of the ICTR has appealed against the judgements. This is only the second time that the ICTR has delivered an acquittal. The first and only other suspect to be acquitted was former mayor of Mabanza commune Ignace Bagilishema in 2001. The Rwandan government on that occasion accepted the decision of the ICTR.

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