The tribunal trying suspects of the 1994 Rwandan genocide has complained to the United Nations (UN) Security Council that it was encountering difficulties in tracking a top fugitive believed to be holed up in Zimbabwe.
Justice Hassan Jallow, prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), wrote to the UN Security Council last week saying there were difficulties in apprehending Protais Mpiranya, a former commander of the presidential guard during the genocide.
Jallow said Zimbabwe should prevent the genocide fugitive from evading justice.
The prosecutor said they had requested for cooperation and assistance from the Zimbabwean government in bringing Mpiranya to justice.
“Difficulties experienced in the tracking of the top level fugitive Protais Mpiranya continue and I urge further cooperation and assistance from the Government of Zimbabwe in this regard,” Jallow said in a statement addressed to the UN Security Council.
But Zimbabwean police yesterday maintained they were not aware of the presence of the genocide fugitive in the country despite insistence by the tribunal.
“We do not know of his presence in Zimbabwe,”
Wayne Bvudzijena, chief police spokesperson, told NewsDay. “As police we are unaware of his presence here.”
Mpiranya’s head carries a $5 million bounty. Prosecutors at the ICTR believe he is staying in Zimbabwe.
Mpiranya is accused of crimes against humanity, war crimes and conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide or alternatively complicity in genocide.
In his capacity as commander of the elite force, he allegedly exercised authority over the units of this battalion.
Beginning in 1992, Mpiranya allegedly supervised the training of militiamen, and in 1993, Mpiranya also reportedly sent his subordinates to supervise the training of the Interahamwe, a notorious Hutu militia.
He is also accused of distributing weapons to the militia and to certain members of the civilian population with the intent to exterminate the Tutsi population.
As of April 7 1994, killings of the civilian Tutsi population, which were preceded on many occasions by rape, sexual violence and other crimes of a sexual nature, were carried out by civilians and soldiers allegedly under orders from Mpiranya.
Mpiranya allegedly tracked down, arrested, sexually assaulted, and killed Rwandan Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana during the genocide.
He is accused of taking into custody 10 Belgian peacekeepers from a UN peacekeeping mission who had been guarding her house and killed them.