A former Rwandan minister convicted over his role in the country’s genocide was transferred to Senegal this week to serve out his sentence — the last inmate to leave a UN detention centre in Tanzania.
Augustin Ngirabatware was planning minister at the time of the genocide, in which at least 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered between April and July 1994.
He was convicted by the UN tribunal in Tanzania in 2012 for inciting and aiding Hutu militiamen in his home district in northwestern Rwanda to kill and rape their Tutsi neighbours.
An initial sentence of 35 years was reduced to 30 years in 2014 after the rape conviction was set aside but the sentence was otherwise confirmed in 2019.
Ngirabatware was transferred on July 18 to a Senegalese prison from the UN detention centre in Arusha, the headquarters of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda which closed in 2015, a spokesman said.
“Following this transfer, there are no more detainees today at the UN detention centre,” said Ousman Njikam, Arusha spokesman for the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) which is now handling the ICTR’s affairs.
However, the prison will not close its doors just yet, as six Rwandan genocide suspects remain at large, including former presidential guard chief Protais Mpiranya.
Ngirabatware had fled Rwanda in July 1994, finding work in research institutes in Gabon and France before being arrested in Germany in 2007 and transferred to the ICTR the following year.
Billionaire Felicien Kabuga, Ngirabatware’s father-in-law, is currently being held in The Hague accused of having bankrolled the bloodshed.