WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States announced Monday the renewal of rewards of up to five million dollars for tips leading to the arrest of any of 13 men suspected of war crimes during the Rwandan genocide.
It said the US embassy in Kinshasa will in the next few weeks work with the UN mission and others in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to distribute posters, matchbooks and other items to solicit information.
"Because many of the fugitives are believed to be living in the Democratic Republic of Congo, this rewards for justice program will be focused there," said Clint Williamson, ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues.
He said up to five million dollars will be given to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest of any of the 13 men indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), who remain fugitives.
They were charged with perpetrating, financing and providing support for the 1994 genocide in which up to one million people were killed.
The program dating back to the late 1990s lapsed in the last year and a half as information dried up, but the State Department revived it as "there is some urgency in trying to resolve the issue of the fugitives," Williamson said.
"The impunity of these men 14 years after the crimes were committed and their continuing their presence in the region represents a threat to stability and reconciliation," Williamson told reporters.
One of the accused, Felicien Kabuga, is believed to be in Kenya, though "he has links to people in the Congo," Williamson said. "We're open to expanding this program again in Kenya if we think it's useful."
The others on the list are Augustin Bizimana, Idelphonse Nizeyimana, Protais Mpiranya, Gregoire Ndahimana, Fulgence Kayishema, Bernard Munyagishari, Pheneas Munyarugarama, Aloys Ndimbati, Ladislas Ntaganzwa, Charles Ryandikayo, Charles Sikubwabo, and Jean Bosco Uwinkindi.
Jendayi Frazer, assistant secretary for African affairs, said no money has been awarded to anyone in the past because governments rather than individuals gave tips that led to the arrests of at least three accused of war crimes.
The genocide in Rwanda ended when the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front (FPR) routed the FAR (the French acronym for the Armed Forces of Rwanda) in July of that year.