THE International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) (Mechanism), Office of the Prosecutor has announced the death of Augustin Bizimana, one of the major fugitives alleged to have been a senior leader of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
The confirmation of the death is based on the conclusive identification of Bizimana’s remains in a grave site in Pointe Noire, the Republic of the Congo.
As Minister for Defence in the Interim Government during the genocide, Bizimana was indicted by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in 1998.
He was charged with 13 counts of genocide, complicity in genocide, extermination, murder, rape, torture, other inhumane acts, persecution, cruel treatment and outrages upon personal dignity, all in relation to crimes committed during the 1994 genocide.
Among the crimes charged, Bizimana was alleged to be responsible for the murders of former Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and 10 Belgian United Nations peacekeepers, and for the murder of Tutsi civilians throughout Gisenyi, Ruhengeri, Butare, Kibuye and Cyangugu prefectures.
A statement made available to ‘Daily News’ says the confirmation of death is the result of exhaustive investigation by the Office of the Prosecutor, combining advanced technology with extensive field operations and involved exceptional cooperation with partner authorities in Rwanda, the Republic of the Congo, the Netherlands and the United States.
Late last year, the Mechanism conducted a DNA analysis on previously-obtained samples of human remains from a grave site in Pointe Noire, the Republic of the Congo.
Subsequent investigations and comparative DNA analysis by the Office over the last several months ruled out that the remains were those of any other person. The Office further verified additional evidence concerning the circumstances of Bizimana’s death.
Accordingly, the Office confirms that Augustin Bizimana is dead. It is believed that he died in August 2000 in Pointe Noire.
The Mechanism expressed its particular appreciation to the Netherlands Forensic Institute and the United States Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory for their critical technical support and assistance in this matter.
“With the arrest of Félicien Kabuga last Saturday and the confirmation, the Office of the Prosecutor has now accounted for two of the three major fugitives indicted by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
“The remaining major fugitive is Protais Mpiranya, former commander of the Presidential Guard of the Rwandan Armed Forces, and the Office continues to actively pursue him. The Office is also actively pursuing the five other fugitives indicted by the ICTR, Fulgence Kayishema, Phénéas Munyarugarama, Aloys Ndimbati, Ryandikayo and Charles Sikubwabo,” said the statement.
The Office of the Prosecutor called on all UN member states to cooperate and bring the remaining fugitives to justice.