Closure of Local Office for Rwanda’s Mechanism Handling Last ICTR Cases Imminent

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In Kigali, the Residual Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals responsible for the final cases of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has announced the imminent closure of its local office by August 31st. Thirty years after the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis, a chapter closes for the United Nations body.

According to Abubakar Tambadou, the Mechanism’s Registrar, the decision to close the Kigali office was made following the indefinite suspension of Félicien Kabuga’s trial last August due to health reasons.

Félicien Kabuga’s case marked the last trial under the Mechanism. The remaining three cases—Fulgence Kayishema, arrested last year in South Africa, and Charles Sikubwabo and Charles Ryandikayo, both fugitives still sought by investigators—will be transferred to Rwandan authorities for prosecution.

“The Mechanism’s Prosecutor’s Office will maintain a limited number of staff in Rwanda to continue their collaboration and cooperation with Rwandan authorities, as well as assist in locating fugitives who are to be tried here in Rwanda.”

Further operations in Rwanda will continue to be conducted by the Mechanism’s headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania, notably the witness protection services.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, established in 1994 following the Rwandan genocide, formally closed its doors in December 2015. The ICTR then transferred its remaining cases to the Residual Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, which oversees their follow-up.

Soukaina Sghir

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