Arusha. One of the alleged major fugitives in the Rwanda genocide in the 1990s still on the run Augustine Bizimana is dead.
Confirmation of the death of the former Defence minister prior to the 1994 manslaughter comes hardly a week after the arrest of Felicien Kabuga, alleged to be the architect.
The Residual Mechanism of International Criminal Tribunals of the United Nations said the confirmation is based on identification of Bizimana’s remains in a grave in Congo.
He was a minister in the Interim government which took over after the killing of Rwanda President Juvenal Habyarimana on April 6th, 1994, triggering the killings.
“Confirmation of his death is based on the conclusive identification of Bizimana’s remains in a grave site at Pointe Noire, the Republic of Congo”, the Arusha-based Mechanism said in a statement.
As the Minister of Defence in the Interim Government during the genocide, he was indicted by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda ( ICTR) in 1998.
He was charged with 13 counts of genocide, complicity in genocide, extermination, murder, rape, torture, other inhumane acts, persecution, cruel treatment and outrages upon personal dignity, all in relation to crimes committed during the 1994 genocide.
Among the crimes charged, Bizimana was alleged to be responsible for the murders of former Prime Minister AgatheUwilingiyimana and 10 Belgian United Nations peacekeepers.
The murder of Tutsi civilians throughout Gisenyi, Ruhengeri, Butare, Kibuye and Cyangugu prefectures.
The confirmation of death also follows “an exhaustive investigation” by the Office of the Prosecutor combining advanced technology with extensive field operations, and involved exceptional cooperation with partner authorities in Rwanda, Congo, the Netherlands and the United States.
Late last year, the Office conducted DNA analysis on previously-obtained samples of human remains from a grave site in Pointe Noire, Congo.
Subsequent investigations and comparative DNA analysis by the Office over the last several months ruled out that the remains were those of any other person.
The Office further verified additional evidence concerning the circumstances of Bizimana’s death.
Accordingly, the Office Augustin Bizimana is deceased. It is believed that he died in August 2000 in Pointe Noire.
The Office expresses its particular appreciation to the Netherlands Forensic Institute and the United States Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory for their critical technical support and assistance in this matter.
With the arrest of Félicien Kabuga last Saturday and the confirmation, the Office of the Prosecutor has now accounted for two of the three major fugitives indicted by the United Nations ICTR.
The remaining major fugitive is Protais Mpiranya, former commander of the Presidential Guard of the Rwandan Armed Forces, and the Office continues to actively pursue him.
The Office is also actively pursuing five other fugitives indicted by the ICTR, FulgenceKayishema, PhénéasMunyarugarama, AloysNdimbati, Ryandikayo and Charles Sikubwabo.
The Office of the Prosecutor calls on all UN Member States to intensify cooperation in order to bring the remaining fugitives to justice, the statement flushed to the media said.