THE HAGUE: Former Rwandan defence minister Augustin Bizimana, one of the top suspects wanted over the country’s 1994 genocide, has died, the UN tribunal said on Friday.
He is believed to have died around August 2000, “based on the conclusive identification of Bizimana’s remains in a grave site in Pointe Noire, the Republic of the Congo,” the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) said in a statement.
About 800,000 people, mainly members of the Tutsi ethnic group but also moderate Hutus, were slaughtered over 100 days of violence committed by Hutu extremists in 1994.
Bizimana had been indicted by the United Nations’ International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1998. The 13 counts included genocide, murder, rape and torture, including the murder of former prime minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and 10 Belgian UN peacekeepers.
The announcement by the MICT comes six days after the arrest in Paris of one of the last alleged fugitives from the genocide — Felicien Kabuga.
He is accused of creating the notorious Interahamwe militia that carried out massacres, and the Radio-Television Libre des Mille Collines which, in its broadcasts, incited people to murder.
Kabuga, 84, who spent a quarter of the century on the run, was indicted by the UN court in 1997 on seven counts, including genocide.
The UN tribunal for Rwanda, headquartered in Arusha, Tanzania, formally closed in 2015 and its duties were transferred to an institution called the MICT.
Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2020