The senior prosecutor at the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, Serge Brammertz on Friday confirmed the death of Augustin Bizimana, one of the major fugitives alleged to have been a senior leader of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.This confirmation is based on the conclusive identification of Bizimana’s remains in a grave site in Pointe Noire, the Republic of the Congo, the statement issued by the Mechanism Office of the Prosecutor said.
As the Minister of Defence in the Interim Government during the genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda, Bizimana was indicted by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1998.
Indictment reports indicate that 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 across Rwanda.
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, the statement said.
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, it said.
With the arrest of Félicien Kabuga, another Rwandan genocidaire fugitive last Saturda, the Office of the Prosecutor said it 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 include Protais Mpiranya, former commander of the Presidential Guard of the Rwandan Armed Forces, it said.