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Heller, Kevin Jon (2008) 'What Happens to the Acquitted?' Leiden Journal of International Law, 21 (03). pp. 663-680.

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Abstract

According to the ICTR, Emmanuel Bagambiki is an innocent man. The trial chamber and the Appeals Chamber have each unanimously acquitted the former Prefect of Cyangugu of crimes relating to Rwanda's horrific 1994 genocide. And on 19 July 2007 Bagambiki was reunited with his wife in children in Belgium, having been granted asylum a few days earlier. It is tempting to conclude that justice has been done in Bagambiki's case. That conclusion, however, would be too facile: Bagambiki was acquitted in February 2006, nearly 18 months before his family reunion. In the interim he lived in a safe house in Arusha paid for by the United Nations, wanted by Rwanda for trial on related charges and unable to convince Belgium that he posed no danger to its peace and security. Bagambiki, moreover, is one of the lucky ones: the nightmare of being free but having nowhere to go continues for two of his acquitted roommates in the safe house, Andre Ntagerura and Andre Rwamakuba, Rwanda's Minister of Transport and former Minister of Education respectively. Bagambiki's ordeal and Rwamakuba and Ntagerura's ongoing plight illustrate one of the basic problems facing international criminal tribunals: what to do with the acquitted. An acquitted defendant normally has two options: return to his country of origin, or find a third country that will grant him asylum. Both options, however, have been problematic for defendants acquitted by the ICTR and are likely to prove equally problematic for defendants who may be acquitted in the future by the ICC. This short essay explains why – and identifies what the international community should do about it.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > School of Law
ISSN: 09221565
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.1017/S0922156508005232
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2017 17:23
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/21587

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