Eugène Rwamucyo was born in Ruhengeri, Rwanda in 1959. He is married and his family lives in Anderlues, Belgium. He is a doctor by profession and worked at the university hospital of the National University of Rwanda (Université nationale du Rwanda), in Butare, Rwanda.
The Rwandan People’s Court (Gacaca) concluded during his trial in absentia, that Eugène Rwamucyo was part of a crisis committee that organized and oversaw the genocide in Butare. He is allegedly responsible of the massacre of Tutsis at the Hospital of the Université nationale du Rwanda. He is also accused of participating in meetings with “top genocidaires” in Butare, including a meeting with the Prime Minister of the Hutu interim government in 1994, Jean Kambanda (sentenced to life imprisonment by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda). He is therefore accused of genocide and war crimes.
Until his arrest, Rwamucyo worked at a hospital in Maubeuge, North of France. He was dismissed after a nurse found information on him in the internet.
Rwamucyo was arrested 26 May 2010 by the French Police while attending the funeral of Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, a fellow Rwandan and convicted genocidaire. His arrest came following an arrest warrant issued in 2006 by the Rwandan Government and publicized by Interpol.
Rwamucyo was arrested 26 May 2010 by the French Police at the Val-d’Oise region near Paris, following an arrest warrant issued in 2006 by the Rwandan Government and publicized by Interpol.
French prosecutors opened an investigation into Rwamucyo in 2008. After his arrest, an extradition hearing was held on 2 June 2010 at the Court of Appeal in Versailles. On 9 June 2010, the Judges requested additional documents from the Rwandan Government i.e.
– The original or certified copy of the arrest warrant
– A copy of legislation related to the offenses alleged against Rwamucyo
– The applicable legislation for the punishment of life imprisonment in place to replace the death penalty
The next extradition hearing has been set for 8 September 2010. Additionally, the Court has denied a provisional release requested by Rwamucyo’s lawyers.
On 15 September 2010 a French court in Versailles rejected Kigali’s request to extradite Eugene Rwamucyo and he was released. Rwandan Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga, said that the French decision to release Eugene Rwamucyo is clearly disrespectful to Rwanda and the refusal to extradite Rwamucyo is not based on lack of evidence, but lack of trust in the Rwandan justice system to handle a genocide case.
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda :
The Rwandan genocide was done under the eyes of the public opinion without any reaction of the international community. The United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) was powerless in front of the killers, more numerous than the contingent of the peacekeeping troops.
In order to facilitate the process of national reconciliation and to promote peace in the country, the United Nations Oragnization created, in its resolution 955 of the 8th November 1994, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), located in Arusha, Tanzania.
The function of the Tribunal is to try perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, committed between January 1 and December 31 1994. Since its creation, the ICTR ruled on around 50 cases and almost as much are currently on trial.
However, because many prisoners were waiting to be tried and as the Tribunal had difficulties to rule within a reasonable time, new jurisdictions were created to dispense justice in better conditions and to fight effectively against impunity.
Gacaca Jurisdictions :
In 1998, under the direction of the President of the Rwandan Republic, a reflection started on the possible use of traditional courts to support the judicial system. A commission was created to study this option and the report provided was the basis of the organic law of January 26 2001, which created the Gacaca jurisdictions.
They are responsible to try alleged perpetrators of genocide, apart the “planners” that must be tried by national jurisdictions.
These jurisdictions are composed of elected popular assemblies and organized according to the country subdivisions. There exist Cell’s Gacaca Courts, Sector’s Gacaca Courts and Sector’s Gacaca Courts for Appeal.
They are formed of a general assembly, a Bureau and a Co-ordination Committee. Their members are elected citizens fulfilling the eligibility conditions (to be over 21 years old, did not participate in the commission of the crime of genocide or crimes against humanity…). These persons are not professional judges.
The trials are based primarily on consideration of confession, testimony, which disclose methods of participation in genocide.
Gacaca Jurisdictions have tried more than a million cases since their creation, according to the Rwandan authorities.
These jurisdictions should wind up their proceedings soon. The official closure of the Gacaca trials at the national level is scheduled on 30 June 2010.
Not being able to follow all trials, Trial Watch focuses mainly on the judgments rendered by the ICTR.
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.