International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

U.N. Court, on Appeal, Acquits 2 Rwandans in 1994 Genocide

A little over a week ago the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) acquitted two Rwandans indicted for their roles in the 1994 genocide. It has been twenty years since the genocide, but efforts to find and punish those responsible for the atrocities continue. Augustin Ndindiliyimana, the former chief of staff of the Rwandan paramilitary police, and François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye, the former commander of a military reconnaissance battalion were the two acquitted. Ndindiliyimana was one of the highest ranking officials indicted by the tribunal, and was convicted of genocide. But because of the length of time between when he was arrested, his conviction, and his appeal he was freed after time served. I understand that the ICTR is underfunded and that it is trying to figure out protocol etc., but a man who was convicted of genocide should not be released for time served. He spent eleven years in the middle of the process, but because he spent it awaiting a decision and not in prison as a convicted criminal it undermines the court’s decision. This case should be a wake up call for the international community that these tribunals need to be funded better in order for them to work more effectively. I wonder if the fact that they will be forced to wait years and waste a large amount of money dis-incentivize perpetrators of atrocities from turning themselves in?




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