10 Sep Rwamakuba Finds a Home
More than two years after his acquittal was confirmed by the ICTR Appeals Chamber, Rwanda’s former Minister of Education, Andre Rwamakuba, is no longer a virtual prisoner in a UN safehouse in Arusha:
Former Rwandan Education Minister Andre Rwamakuba ( 58) has joined his family at Vaud, Switzerland after spending two years in Arusha, seat of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), looking for a host country. “He flew out on Monday after the Swiss government approved his family reunification visa,’’ said Mandiaye Niang, Special Assistant to the ICTR Registrar.
The applicant could not be granted a visa until June when proper immigration status of his family was ensured, sources said. He was seen off at the airport by his room-mate in their secret Arusha location, Andre Ntagerura, former Rwandan Minister for Transport and Communications.
Ntagerura, who was acquitted in 2004 and the decision confirmed by the Appeals Court in 2006, but for the past four years has been trying unsuccessfully to get asylum in Canada for the past four years. Through his Counsel, Ntagerura has filed a case before the Canadian Federal Court to enforce the asylum request.
Rwamakuba is the fourth acquitted person to get a host country.
Others are: former Mayor of Mabanza, Ignace Baglishema (France); former Governor of Cyangugu; Emmanuel Bagambiki (Belgium); and former Mayor of Rukara, Jean Mpambara (Mayotte).
This is excellent news — though it does not necessarily end Rwamakuba’s ordeal, given that he could still be extradited to Rwanda at some point in the future, as I discuss in my recent essay in the Leiden Journal of International Law, “What Happens to the Acquitted?” I hope that won’t happen — and that Ntagerura will find a home soon.