East African Community Secretary General Dr. Richard Sezibera has called on EAC member countries to arrest 1994 Rwandan genocide suspects still rooming in their territories and bring them to justice.
Dr. Sezibera made the call here recently when addressing approximately 1,000 people who turned up for the 18th commemoration of the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi held at the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC).
“I call upon states to help to stop this traverse and bring the suspects to justice,’’ he said, elaborating that genocide was a crime against humanity which needed to be fought by the whole mankind.
He added that Rwanda had almost ceased to exist as a nation in 1994 and paid special tribute to its neighbours who showed solidarity during the difficult time.
The EAC chief requested Africa and the world at large to now focus on the survivors who, apart from being traumatized by the aftermath of genocide, they needed help for survival.
Dr. Sezibera also pleaded with the UN to accept Rwanda to host the archive of the case proceedings and other documentation emanating from the ICTR, now winding up its activities.
The UN has already set up an International Residual Mechanism which is charged with hosting the remaining work of the two tribunals, ICTR and that of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
Speaking at the occasion, ICTR Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow asked countries in the Great Lake region to arrest genocide fugitives who still find safe havens in their countries.
“I urge all states in the Great Lake region to live up to their legal obligations by arresting and handing over genocide fugitives to Rwanda for prosecution,’’ he said.
While a total of nine fugitives are still on the run already one ICTR genocide-accused Pastor Jean Uwinkindi was on April 19, 2012 handed over to the Rwandan government for prosecution.
Acting Arusha mayor Matthysen Paul, for his part, said: "I call upon the East African Community and the African Union to strongly say never again to genocide,’’
The occasion, which was organized by the Rwandan diaspora in Arusha, was preceded by prayers conducted by various religious leaders, including Christians and Muslim denominations.