One of last Rwanda genocide fugitives confirmed dead

Aloys Ndimbati, one of the last remaining fugitives wanted over the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, has been confirmed dead, international prosecutors said Tuesday, almost three decades after his demise.

A survivors’ group said news of his death was welcome but voiced disappointment that he would never face justice and said there should be greater efforts to hunt down fugitives.

Ndimbati was indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on seven counts relating to the genocide, which saw around 800,000 people, most of them Tutsis, slaughtered over 100 days.

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These charges were genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and the crimes against humanity of extermination, murder, rape and persecution.

The Office of the Prosecutor at the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals — the successor to the UN tribunal — said it concluded “following a comprehensive and challenging investigation” that Ndimbati died around the end of June 1997.

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“No reliable and corroborated evidence of him being alive after that time has been identified,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

It said the exact circumstances of his death in Gatore in Southeastern Rwanda had not been determined “owing to the confusion and absence of order at the time”.

“While the survivors and victims of Ndimbati’s crimes will not see him prosecuted and punished, this result may help bring some closure in the knowledge that Ndimbati is not at large, and he is unable to cause further harm to the Rwandan people.”

There are now only two outstanding ICTR fugitives — Charles Sikubwabo and Ryandikayo, the prosecutor’s office said.

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Ndimbati was first indicted by the tribunal in November 1995 and was alleged to have personally organised and directed massacres and killings of thousands of Tutsis, it said.

At the time, he was a local leader in the Kibuye prefecture on the shores of Lake Kivu, and a member of the then-ruling National Revolutionary Movement for Development.

“The news is welcome, but survivors are not happy that fugitives like him died without facing justice for the crimes they committed,” Naphtali Ahishakiye, executive secretary of genocide survivors’ umbrella group Ibuka, told AFP.

“We need to put more effort in finding where they are hiding, and courts should also expedite their trials so that they face justice before they die.”