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US offers $5m reward for Rwanda’s FDLR leader Mudacumura’s capture

One of the FDLR rebels captured by Rwanda Defence Forces last year

One of the FDLR rebels captured by Rwanda Defence Forces last year

The United states has staked $5 million (about Rwf3.2 billion) for information leading to the arrest, transfer and conviction of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) leader Sylvestre Mudacumura.

Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice Stephen J. Rapp announced this yesterday during a tele-press conference.

Mudacumura is currently wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, rape, torture and attacking civilians.

FDLR, a militia based in DR Congo, is composed of Rwandan elements largely responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, which claimed more than a million lives.

Mudacumura’s name was added on the list that features key suspects of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, including Felicien Labuga, Protais Mpiranya and Augustin Bizimana—all wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

Also on the list is Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army currently believed to be holed up in Central African Republic.

Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga welcomed the inclusion of Mudacumura on the list, when contacted, saying “it is a good and important initiative.”

“What is unclear though is why Mudacumura has all along been missing on the list… Could it be based on the serious nature of allegations against them ranked in the order of gravity or any other criteria we don’t know?”

Ambassador Rapp explained that the delay was due to lack of legal mechanism that would justify the reward.

“Mudacumura was only indicted by the ICC in 2012, and our law by that time did not permit us to offer rewards for ICC cases but only for Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunals cases…we had his indictment and arrest warrant but we needed a way to do that to include him and the Congress finally provided suitable means which is this law that came into effect on January 15.”

US President Barrack Obama on January 15 signed into law the Department of State Rewards Programme Update and Technical Corrections Act of 2012, expanding the authority for the War Crimes Rewards Programme (WCRP).

“After it was passed we had to consult with agencies and obtain information on each of these individuals and notify Congress that we are ready to receive tips on these people and that we had ways to act on that information if we received it,” said

Rapp in the teleconference.

“We act so that there can be justice for the innocent men, women, and children who have been subjected to mass murder, rape, amputation, enslavement, and other atrocities…With this programme we also send a message to others who may perpetrate such crimes: ‘there will be the means to bring you to account.’”

Two people, including a park warden attached to the Volcanoes National Park in Musanze District were killed and others wounded in last year’s two separate attacks by DR Congo-based FDLR.

The rebels though believed to be weakened, launched attacks on two villages in Rubavu, Western Province.

ICTR’s indicted Genocide suspects Felicien Kabuga, Protais Mpiranya, Augustin Bizimana, Fulgence Kayishema, Pheneas Munyarugarama, Aloys Ndimbati, Ladislas Ntaganzwa, Charles Ryandikayo, and Charles Sikubwabo, are also on the WCRP list.

The US Government promises that it will “ensure complete confidentiality to individuals who provide information on war criminals, and, if participation in the programme entails significant risk to the individuals, will consider additional protective measures.”

Source: The New Times

April 5, 2013   No Comments

Rwanda receives $39.44m from AfDB for skills development

Beneficiaries will include youth, women and small and medium enterprises

Beneficiaries will include youth, women and small and medium enterprises

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) Board yesterday approved $39.44 million to help in developing the Skills, Employability and Entrepreneurship Programme (SEEP) in Rwanda.

The initiative created to support specific sectors in the country’s budget of 2012/13 was mapped out in partnership with Rwanda and her development partners, according to AfDB.

The continental bank was among development partners that had frozen or cut aid to Rwanda over allegations that the latter was supporting a rebel group in DRC – which Kigali vehemently denied. Most of these donors have since released their financial support.

The SEEP aims to boost Rwanda’s policy reforms for inclusive growth and poverty eradication programmes.

Negatu Makonnen, the AfDB Rwanda resident representative, said “the SEEP beneficiaries will include youth, women and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Reducing critical gaps skills

“The bank’s plan is to directly contribute to inclusive growth and reduction of the Balance of Payments and fiscal deficits that will lead to a reduction in Rwanda’s high dependence on foreign aid over the medium term,” he noted.

Makonnen observed that young people and women comprise 40 per cent and 52 per cent of the population respectively while SMEs account for over 90 per cent of private sector establishments and employ the majority of the population.

According to SEEP, the programme targets to reduce critical skills gaps and improve the relevance of education in relation to the labour market.

Recently AfDB gave Development Bank of Rwanda with US$8 million Line of Credit (LoC) to support BRD lending to the agriculture, agro-processing, telecommunication, education and tourism infrastructure sectors in Rwanda.

Source: The New Times

April 5, 2013   No Comments

Rwanda’s ambassador, Security Council President for the month, presents the Programme of Work for April

Rwanda’s UN ambassador, Eugene-Richard Gasana

Rwanda’s UN ambassador, Eugene-Richard Gasana

Rwanda’s UN ambassador, Eugene-Richard Gasana, today marked his ascension to the UN Security Council presidency for April by reflecting on the historical poignancy of the moment.

Ambassador Gasana, said that Rwanda’s previous tenure at the Security Council coincided with the genocide against the Tutsi that lasted one hundred days, killing more than one million people. He said this on April 2, 2013 UN’s headquarters in New York.

“April is a month of mourning, reflection and remembrance for Rwandans. From our seat at the Security Council, we will honour this by redoubling our efforts to prevent atrocities such as that endured by the country 19 years ago this month,” said Ambassador Gasana.

Ambassador Gasana briefed assembled media on the Security Council’s Programme of Work which had been adopted Tuesday morning. He highlighted two open meetings to be held in April, at the ministerial level.

On April 15, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Louise Mushikiwabo, will chair the briefing on “Prevention of Conflict: addressing the root causes” and,  on April 17, Minister Mushikiwabo will also chair the Open Debate on Women and Peace and Security focusing on “sexual violence in conflict.”

Source: Rwanda Express

April 5, 2013   No Comments