- Published on Wednesday, 08 August 2012 02:12
- Written by MARC NKWAME in Arusha
- Hits: 1429
THE Head of the US Global Criminal Justice, Ambassador Stephen Rapp has refuted reports that the US wants to prosecute senior government officials in Rwanda at the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
Speaking in Arusha, the envoy stated that reports by some foreign media outlets misquoted him (Ambassador Rapp) suggesting that senior Rwandan officials faced possible prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, for allegedly supporting the M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
"I did not suggest or call for any specific prosecution in this case," stated Ambassador (Stephen) Rapp who was visiting the Arusha-based ICTR.
Apparently the UK media outlets, especially the Guardian, somehow "mixed up" things because according to Ambassador Rapp, the context of the interview was Mr Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president who was, in May, sentenced by a UN-backed war crimes court to 50 years in prison for his role in assisting criminals in the neighbouring Sierra Leone.
The envoy however reinforced the importance of holding to account those responsible for crimes against humanity, pointing out that in the past neighbouring countries have been found to aid armed rebel groups.
"The US is working hard to ensure that cases of violence are stopped and this is also being achieved through ceasing all outside support aimed to empower rebel groups tearing nations apart as well as total demobilisation of such groups and protection of civilians and their human rights," stated the envoy.
Quoting Ambassador Rapp recently, The Guardian newspaper of UK carried a story which suggested that Rwandan leaders, who have been accused of supporting Congo rebels would face prosecution at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Already the ICC have released statements saying the International Criminal Court was not investigating any Rwandan leader, saying The Hague's current focus is on the arrest of the rebel leader Mr Bosco Ntaganda of the M23 rebel group.
According to the head of the Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division at the ICC Mr Phakiso Mochochoko, the court was not in any way looking at Rwanda, furthermore the country was not even a state party to the ICC.