Mushikiwabo Briefs Security Council On Dangers Of “Selective Justice”

decease geneva; font-size: small;”>Foreign Affairs Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo, told United Nations Security Council during the Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on Tuesday that rendering justice to victims should be the only objective of accountability mechanisms.

“On accountability for crimes against civilians, I wish to emphasize four important principles. First, justice must be timely,” said Mushikiwabo, adding, “Justice cannot be selective, nor can it be for political expediency. “

She added: “Third, more careful attention should be paid to the principle of subsidiarity when choosing the most appropriate venue for judicial proceedings. Justice is best rendered at home.”

The Minister said the international community should increase investment in strengthening national judicial capacities.

Rwanda has for long accused International Tribunals of delaying justice and sometimes setting free the 1994 genocide suspects, despite overwhelming presence of evidence against them.


Rwandan officials last week described as “revisionism and negating the Genocide,” the acquittal of Justin Mugenzi who was Minister of Trade during the 1994 disaster and his Public Service counterpart, Prosper Mugiraneza.

The duo had in 2009 been found guilty of conspiracy to commit Genocide and direct and public incitement to commit Genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and sentenced to 30 years in jail.

Interestingly, early this month, the tribunal’s Appeals Chamber presided by American judge Theodor Meron, overturned the conviction before ordering the genocide planners’ release, leaving genocide survivors in shock.

In a statement, Rwanda Prosecutor-General Martin Ngoga said “the appalling discrepancies in decisions between the ICTR trial and the Appeals Chambers in a number of cases raises questions,” adding, “the most recent decisions of the Appeals Chamber have tended to adopt simplistic treatment of facts and are creating a trend of exonerating political leadership from responsibility in the Genocide.”

While Mushikiwabo outlined ways of protecting civilians in armed conflict areas such as ensuring that all necessary capabilities are deployed in support of peacekeepers to enhance their ability to protect civilian populations, she emphasized:

“I believe that the best way to enhance the protection of civilians in armed conflict is to move from a mindset of conflict management to one of prevention.”

She added: “Moreover, individual States and UN Peacekeeping missions must become more sensitive to often subtle forms of incitement that lay the groundwork for crimes against humanity, and work to curtail it before it is too late.”

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