Charles Ndereyhe Ntahontuy

06.06.2018 ( Last modified: 30.07.2018 )
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Facts

Charles Ndereyehe Ntahontuye is from Cyabingo commune, Rwanda.

In 1992, along with other Rwandan intellectuals, he created the Progressive Republican Circle, a group that was considered extremist because of his incitement to commit genocide against the Tutsi. The same year, Ndereyehe left the presidential party to found the Radical Hutu Coalition for the Defense of the Republic, which will play a crucial role in the genocide.

In 1993, he became director of the Institute of Agricultural Sciences of Rwanda (IASR) where he allegedly ousted of important positions members who did not share his anti-Tutsi ideas. In March 1993, he also reportedly supervised the recruitment and training of a militia to implement the genocide.

In April 1994, he reportedly led meetings at IASR to prepare for the genocide and the plan to leave no Tutsi survivors at IASR and vicinity. The plan is implemented at the end of the same month: on 26 April 1994 more than 300 people were killed during the massacre. In May 1994, he allegedly provided significant financial support for the genocide by allocating part of the IASR budget to operations against Tutsis and as a reward for the perpetrators of crimes against Tutsis.

In 1994, Ndereyehe fled Rwanda to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where he created a politico-military movement based on the ideology of genocide, the Republican Assembly for Rwandan Democracy – RDR.

He lives in the Netherlands today where he continues his political activities. He is one of the leaders of the unregistered United Democratic Forces (FDU-Inkigi), an alliance with RDR, which has links with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). He also coordinates the activities of groups that share an ideology similar to that which gave rise to the genocide.

Legal procedure

On 5 November 2008, Ndereyehe was tried in absentia before the Gacaca courts, Rwandan traditional and community courts having served in particular for the purpose of reconciliation after the genocide. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for genocide at IASR.

On 20 April 22010, Rwanda issued an international arrest warrant against him. He is also on the list of people wanted by Interpol.

In March 2018, in Rwanda, the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide asked the Netherlands to arrest Ndereyehe and extradite him or to try him.

Context

 Rwanda has been historically inhabited by three distinct social groups, known as Hutu, Tutsi and Twa. Between April and July 1994 the country was torn apart by a bloody genocide, during which extremist Hutu people targeted Tutsis and moderate Hutus. The United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) was powerless against those committing the genocide, as the peacekeeping troops were outnumbered.

THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL FOR RWANDA (ICTR)

In hopes of facilitating the process of national reconciliation and to promote peace in the country, on 8 November 1994 the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 955, establishing the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), located in Arusha, Tanzania.

The Tribunal’s function is to prosecute perpetrators of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed between 1 January and 31 December 1994 in Rwanda. Since its inception, 92 persons have been indicted in front of the ICTR.  Some proceedings are however still ongoing.

The ICTR is primed to close down in 2015.

Regarding what will happen to the functions and activities that will outlive the ICTR, the UN Security Council established the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (or “the Mechanism”), in Resolution 1966 (2010), to take over the remaining functions of both the ICTR and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The Mechanism, which has been functioning since 1 July 2012, has already taken over some of the ongoing functions of the ICTR, including the enforcement of sentences of those convicted and sentenced by the Tribunal, the tracking, arrest and prosecution of fugitives earmarked for trial at the Mechanism, and the care and protection of witnesses.

THE GACACA COURTS

In 1998, discussions began under the direction of the President of the Republic of Rwanda about the possible use of traditional courts to support the ordinary Rwandan judicial system and the ICTR. A commission was created to study this possibility, and its report provided the basis of the Organic Law of 26 January 2001, which created the Gacaca Courts.

These courts were in charge of trying the low and middle-level perpetrators of the genocide, apart from the “planners” who should have been tried before national courts. The Gacaca courts were composed of elected popular assemblies, made up of non-professional judges. The composition and functioning of such courts raised several concerns about the respect of fair trial guarantees.

According to Rwandan authorities, during their functioning, the Gacaca courts tried almost two million people. On 18 June 2012 Rwandan President Paul Kagame announced the official end of Gacaca courts’ activity.

Fact Sheet
Name: Charles Ndereyhe Ntahontuy
Nationality: Rwandan
Context: Rwanda
Charges: Genocide
Status: Extradition request sent to the Dutch authorities by Rwanda
Particulars: Sentenced on 5 November 2008 in absentia by a Rwandan Traditional Court (Gacaca) to life imprisonment for acts of genocide committed at the Institute of Agricultural Sciences of Rwanda; on 20 April 2010, an international arrest warrant was issued against him