Today, Michel Bagaragaza surrendered to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania where he will appear before Judge Arlette Ramaroson to face genocide charges.
Bagaragaza, who was director general of the office controlling the Rwandan tea industry, is charged with conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide and complicity in genocide. In an indictment confirmed on 28 July, 2005, Bagaragaza is alleged to have conspired with tea factory employees under his supervision and with others, between 1 January and 17 July 1994, to kill Tutsi in Rwanda and especially in Gisenyi Prefecture.
He is charged with ordering his subordinates and with instigating, aiding and abetting others over whom he did not have authority, to kill hundreds of Tutsi civilians who sought refuge on Kesho Hill near a tea factory in Rubaya and in Nyundo Cathedral, both in Gisenyi Prefecture.
Bagaragaza is alleged to have helped establish, fund, train and arm the Interahamwe militia to carry out attacks on Tutsi civilians. He is also alleged to have been the honorary president of a local unit of the Interahamwe. He allegedly ordered tea factory employees to provide the Interahamwe with fuel for vehicles, arms and ammunition from a stockpile at the factory and ordered factory personnel to assist them in killing hundreds of Tutsi.
ICTR Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow welcomed the surrender of Bagaragaza and said, “The indictment of Michel Bagaragaza resulted from our investigation of the Akazu, the group around the former Rwandan President which exercised great power in business and government in the years leading up to 1994. His indictment is among the final eight indictments that the Office of the Prosecutor has filed in cases alleging genocide. His surrender today is thus an important step in the fulfillment of the Tribunal’s Completion Strategy.”
Bagaragaza was born in 1945 in Giciye Commune, Gisenyi Prefecture.