The East African Community (EAC) Secretary General Dr Richard Sezibera has called upon EAC member countries to arrest 1994 Rwandan genocide suspects still roaming in their territories and bring them to justice.
Dr Sezibera said this in Arusha recently, when addressing about 1,000 people attending the 18th Rwandan genocide anniversary against the Tutsi at the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC).
“I call upon member states to stop this traverse and bring the suspects to justice,’’ he said, stressing that genocide was a crime against humanity, which needed to be fought by all humankind.
He noted that Rwanda had almost ceased to exist as a nation in 1994 and paid special tribute to its neighbouring countries that showed solidarity during that difficult time.
The EAC chief requested Africa and the world at large to now focus on the survivors, who apart from being traumatised by the aftermath of genocide, needed help to cope with their bad memories.
Dr Sezibera also pleaded with the UN to accept Rwanda to host the archive of case proceedings and documentation emanating from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) now winding up its business.
The UN has already set an International Residual Mechanism (IRM), which is charged with hosting the remaining work of the two tribunals, ICTR and that of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
Speaking on the same occasion, ICTR Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow appealed to countries in the Great Lake Region to arrest genocide fugitives, who still found safe heavens 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 nine fugitives are still on the run already one ICTR genocide accused Pastor Jean Uwinkindi was on April 19, this year, handed over to Rwandan government for prosecution.
For his part, Arusha City Acting Mayor Matthysen Paul said: “I call upon the EAC and the African Union to strongly say, never again to genocide.’’
The occasion, which was organised by the Rwandan Diaspora in Arusha, was preceded by a prayer service conducted by various religious leaders including Christians and Muslims.