Augustin Bizimana, one of the major fugitives alleged to have been a senior leader of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, is reportedly a dead person.
His death was confirmed by the Office of the Prosecutor at the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (UN IRMCT).
This confirmation, according to IRMCT, is based on the conclusive identification of Bizimana’s remains in a grave-site in Pointe Noire, the Congo.
The news about his death comes a week after another fugitive, Felicien Kabuga, was arrested and sent to the Hague for trial.
As the Minister of Defence in the Interim Government during the genocide, Bizimana was indicted by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1998.
He was charged with thirteen 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 Agathe Uwilingiyimana and ten Belgian United Nations peacekeepers, and for the murder of Tutsi civilians throughout Gisenyi, Ruhengeri, Butare, Kibuye and Cyangugu prefectures.
This confirmation of death is the result of 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, the Republic of the 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, the Republic of the 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 confirms today that 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 today’s confirmation, the Office of the Prosecutor has now accounted for two of the three major fugitives indicted by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (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 the five other fugitives indicted by the ICTR, Fulgence Kayishema, Phénéas Munyarugarama, Aloys Ndimbati, 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.