Rusatira, Léonidas (indictment withdrawn)

On 12 April 2002, an Indictment was confirmed against Léonidas Rusatira and on the same day a warrant issued for the arrest of the former Rwandan Army Colonel. Rusatira was charged with genocide and crimes against humanity for his alleged involvement in commanding soldiers in the killing of Tutsi civilians. He was arrested in Belgium and detained in a Belgian prison in 2002.

On 14 August 2002, Judge Navanethem Pillay granted leave to the Prosecutor pursuant to Rule 51 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to withdraw the Indictment and ordered the immediate release of Rusatira from custody. The decision to withdraw the Indictment followed accusations that the appearance of Rusatira’s name on a list of ‘genocidaires’ drawn up by the government of Paul Kagame was politically motivated. In fact, witnesses from the UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda during the genocide, UNAMIR, told of how Rusatira had saved numerous lives, prompting two experts recognised by the ICTR to effectively lobby then Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, to withdraw the charges.

Research/ miscellaneous (Research Document)
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