The Referral Chamber of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on 28 June 2012 transferred to the authorities of the Republic of Rwanda the case of Phénéas Munyarugarama, who held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Forces Armées Rwandaises, and was the highest ranking military officer at Gako camp, in the Bugesera region of Kigali-rural prefecture between early 1993 and 14 May 1994. Munyarugarama was born on 1 January 1948 in Kidaho commune of Ruhengeri prefecture in the Republic of Rwanda and currently remains at large.
Munyarugarama has been charged with genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, as well as with murder, extermination, rape and persecution as crimes against humanity. It is alleged that Phénéas Munyarugarama was directly involved in the planning and execution of the systematic attacks directed against the Tutsi civilian population at various sites, including Kanzenze Communal Office, NyamataSecteur, Ntarama Catholic Church, Cyugaro Primary School and the Ntarama Swamps during the time of the Rwandan genocide in 1994.
This is the eighth and final case to be transferred to Rwanda by the ICTR following those of Jean Uwinkindi and Bernard Munyagishari, whose transfer decisions were transferred on 28 June 2011 and 6 June 2012, respectively, and of fugitives Fulgence Kayishema, Charles Sikuwabo, Ladislas Ntaganzwa, Ryandikayo, and Aloys Ndimbati whose cases were all referred earlier this year.
In its ruling, the Referral Chamber, composed of Judges Vagn Joensen, Presiding, Florence Rita Arrey, and Gberdao Gustave Kam, ordered that the case of Phénéas Munyarugarama be referred to the authorities of Rwanda, who will then refer the same to the High Court of Rwanda.
The Prosecution was further ordered to hand over to the Prosecutor General of Rwanda, as soon as possible and no later than thirty days after the Decision has become final, the material supporting the Indictment against the fugitive accused and all other appropriate evidentiary material in the possession of the Prosecution.
In deciding this last case for transfer, the Referral Chamber expressed its solemn hope that the Republic of Rwanda, in accepting referrals from this Tribunal, will put into practice the commitments it has made about its good faith, capacity, and willingness to enforce the highest standards of international justice.