On 3 September 2018, Rwandan authorities executed arrest warrants issued by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals and took into custody Maximilien Turinabo, Anselme Nzabonimpa, Jean de Dieu Ndagijimana, Marie Rose Fatuma and Dick Prudence Munyeshuli. The five accused will be transferred to the seat of the Mechanism in Arusha, Tanzania.
The arrest warrants were issued by the Judge of the Mechanism after confirmation on 24 August 2018 of an indictment filed by the Mechanism Office of the Prosecutor. The indictment was kept under seal pending the successful arrest of the accused, and has been made public today with redactions to protect witnesses.
The indictment in the Turinabo et al. case alleges that the five accused are responsible for contempt of court, incitement to commit contempt and knowing violation of court orders, interfering with the administration of justice at the Mechanism and International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The Office of the Prosecutor alleges that Maximilien Turinabo, Anselme Nzabonimpa, Jean de Dieu Ndagijimana and Marie Rose Fatuma, directly and through others, offered bribes and exerted pressure to influence the evidence of protected witnesses in the Ngirabatware case. The Office of the Prosecutor further alleges that Dick Prudence Munyeshuli and Maximilien Turinabo disclosed protected information regarding protected witnesses in knowing violation of protective measures ordered by the ICTR and Mechanism. The alleged aim of these efforts was to secure the reversal of Augustin Ngirabatware’s conviction by the ICTR, as affirmed by the Mechanism’s Appeals Chamber for direct and public incitement to commit genocide, instigating genocide and aiding and abetting genocide and his sentence of 30 years of imprisonment.
In relation to the arrest, Mechanism Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz stated:
“I wish to express our gratitude to the Rwandan authorities for promptly executing the Mechanism arrest warrants and apprehending the five accused. The Office of the Prosecutor continues to enjoy excellent cooperation with the Prosecutor-General of Rwanda, Mr. Jean Bosco Mutangana, and other Rwandan authorities.
My Office underscores our determination to stand against all efforts to interfere with witnesses and the proper administration of justice, in accordance with our mandate from the United Nations Security Council. We are fully committed to safeguarding the integrity of all proceedings before the Mechanism, ICTR and ICTY, in particular by ensuring the protection of witnesses. The confirmation of our indictment and arrests of the five accused this week are visible demonstrations of that commitment. ”