Zimbabwe: Authorities deny harboring and aiding Rwandan fugitive Protais Mpiranya

He was wanted by the UN justice system for 22 years for his alleged involvement in the 1994 genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda. Last Thursday, the prosecutor of the Mechanism, the office that succeeded the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, revealed that Mpiranya had in fact died 15 years ago in Zimbabwe, where he had found refuge. The prosecutor also lamented the lack of cooperation from Zimbabwe that would have allowed him to be found more quickly.
“The government did not aid, abet or conceal Mr. Mpiranya, contrary to the slander in the international media,” the Zimbabwean foreign minister said. In a statement, he added that Zimbabwe cooperated fully with investigators, creating a joint task force, helping to fund the search and that Harare authorized and participated in the exhumation of the remains of Protais Mpiranya.
Last week, the confirmation that Protais Mpiranya had lived and worked in Zimbabwe before his death raised many questions and criticisms. According to Serge Brammertz, the prosecutor for the Mechanism, which is charged with investigating Rwandan fugitives, Protais Mpiranya fled to Zimbabwe – probably in 2002 – with the help of high-ranking Zimbabwean officials and with the cooperation of corrupt officials. It does not say that the government was aware of the Rwandan fugitive’s presence, but certainly senior officials.
Let us not forget that there has been a change of government in Zimbabwe. In 2017, Emmerson Mnangagwa replaced Robert Mugabe as head of state and has been much more open. The country is seeking to attract aid from the international community, hence the cooperation in recent years with UN investigators.