Jacques Mungwarere

20.04.2016 ( Last modified: 10.06.2016 )
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facts

Jacques Mungwarere was born in 1972 in Rwanda. He was a professor at España School in the former prefecture of Kibuye in Rwanda.

Arriving in Canada in 1998, he obtained refugee’s status in 2002 and worked as temporary warehouseman in a factory of Windsor, South of the Ontario in Canada, where he lived with his wife and his three children.

Jacques Mungwarere is accused of having participated in the killing of Tutsi at Mugonero Hospital, Murambi Adventist Church, Gitwe Catholic Church and in Bisesero.

He would have been the first person to make public the theory of killing Tutsis and throwing them into Nyabaronga River, a tributary of River Nile, in order to make it easier for them to flow to Ethiopia where he said they originated.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), in Windsor, arrested Jacques Mungwarere on 6 November 2009, in cooperation with Rwanda’s Genocide Fugitive Tracking Unit (GFTU).

legal procedure

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), in Windsor, arrested Jacques Mungwarere on 6 November 2009, in cooperation with Rwanda’s Genocide Fugitive Tracking Unit (GFTU).

Jacques Mungwarere is accused of genocide.

He is suspected of having taken part in the killings committed in the prefecture of Kibuye, in the West of Rwanda, between April and July 1994.

After his arrest, he compared in front of a judge of Ottawa and was put in custody.

On 12 November 2009, a judge of the Court of Ottawa decided to postpone the case until 7 December 2009, to allow Jacques Mungwarere time to constitute his defense.

On 31 May 2010, Mungwarere was officially indicted in Ontario’s Superior Court. Although originally charged with one count of genocide, the official indictment was for:
– two counts of genocide;
– two counts of crimes against humanity

The indictment was filed in accordance with section 577 of the Criminal Code, which allows the Attorney General to send a case directly to trial without the usual preliminary inquiry. Section 577 specifies that this can only be done in cases where the public interest is best served by proceeding straight to trial.

On 16 April 2012 the final version of Mungwarere charges was confirmed: he has to defend from one count of genocide and one of crimes against humanity.

On 30 April 2012 he waived his right to be tried by a jury, choosing instead to be tried by a single judge.

On 28 May 2012, the trial proceedings started with the Prosecutor’s opening statement. Jacques Mungwarere pleaded not guilty.

The trial finished on 21 March 2013.

On 5 July 2013, Mungwarere was acquitted of all charges. Judge Michel Charbonneau found that the Prosecution hadn’t proven the accused’s guilt beyond any reasonnable doubt. In the course of the proceedings, the judge was forced to reject part of the Prosecution’s evidence after it turned out to be fabricated.

spotlight

The Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act was adopted in 2000 to implement Canada’s obligations with respect to the ICC and to provide for the prosecution of international crimes before Canadian courts.

Mungwarere is the second person indicetd under this Act, named of ‘universal jurisdiction’.

The first person to be indicted under the law was Desire Munyaneza, who was sentenced to life in October 2009 for genocide, crime against humanity and war crimes.

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.