Arusha. A United Nations Tribunal has appointed a new Registrar to assist in handling a high profile case on the recently arrested Rwanda genocide fugitive.
The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism) believes the arrest of Felicien Kabuga was not only critical but posed challenges to the Arusha-based judicial organ.
“Our mandate is now critical. It is vital that the prosecutors, judges and defence counsel receive the full support they need,” said the Prosecutor Judge Serge Brammertz.
He made the remarks at the weekend as he welcomed the appointment of a new Registrar of the Mechanism Mr Abubacarr M. Tambadou from the Gambia.
The appointment was made by the UN secretary general Antonnio Guterres. He would replace Mr Olufemi Elias of Nigeria whose tenure has ended.
Prosecutor Brammertz, whose tenure was extended by the UN Security Council recently, said the arrest of Kabuga would give a new impetus to the Tribunal.
“It is a critical moment for the Mechanism’s mandate,” he said, hinting on the possibility of Mr Kabuga, the alleged mastermind of the 1994 genocide brought to Arusha to face trial.
The fugitive’s dramatic arrest in Paris on May 16th was spearheaded by the Mechanism AND followed years of investigations by its detectives and those from several other countries.
The horrific massacre in Rwanda was triggered by the shooting down of a plane that carried the former Rwanda president Juvenal Habyarimana and his subsequent killing.
Nearly a million people, many of them of Tutsi ethnicity, were hacked to death, leading to the creation of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) by the UN.
Until it closed shop in December 2015, the Tribunal which was based in Arusha, had indicted 61 of the fugitives. However, six other most wanted alleged masterminds are still at large.
The hunt for seven other remaining “masterminds” of the genocide, still on the run in various countries across the world, continues.
They are Protais Mpiranya,Pheneas Munyarugarama, Fulgence Kayishema, Charles Sikuwabo, Ladislaus Ntagazwa, Aloyce Ndibati and one Ryandikayo.
Mr Tambadou has previously worked with ICTR as a counsel between 2003 and 2012 at the African Union where he was the Chair of Specialised Technical Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs.