The campaign to end genocide and crimes against humanity around the world scored two major victories over the past week. Two fugitives sought for their roles in carrying out genocide were finally apprehended by authorities after years of pursuit.
Ratko Mladic, a former Bosnian Serb military leader who faces genocide and war crime charges, was captured in Serbia following 16 years as a fugitive on the run. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bernard Munyagishari, alleged Interahamwe militia leader during the 1994 Rwanda genocide, was arrested on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, including rape. The two men are charged with atrocities in very different parts of the world, but were both arrested on charges from international courts set up by the U.N. (Mladic by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and Munyagishari by an equivalent court for Rwanda)—an indication that such egregious violations of human rights are not to be tolerated in any corner of the world and will ultimately be punished.
Bringing these figures to justice was made possible through extraordinary international cooperation. The Congolese and Serbian governments deserve recognition for their show of commitment to international justice and accountability. However, Congolese authorities must show vigilance and consistency in continuing to capture and prosecute those responsible for the killing of innocent civilians that continues today.
The international community’s resolve over many years to track down the world’s most notorious mass murderers sends a stark message to the Omar al-Bashirs, Joseph Konys, and Bosco Ntagandas of the world. All three men have International Criminal Court arrest warrants hanging over their heads. Bashir has been charged with presiding over genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in the Darfur region of Sudan in his capacity as president, Lord’s Resistance Army leader Kony is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes, while Congolese warlord Ntaganda is wanted on war crimes charges of enlisting child soldiers. The recent arrests send strong signals to those still being pursued that not only will the world never forget the crimes that have been orchestrated, but it will not rest until justice has been carried out.
Photo: Arrested genocide suspect Bernard Munyagishari