The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), on 18 August 2005, transferred Michel Bagaragaza to The Hague for temporary detention. He surrendered to the Tribunal on 16 August and pled not guilty to genocide charges in his initial appearance before Judge Arlette Ramaroson.
Bagaragaza was transferred to the Detention Unit of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) under orders issued by Judge Ramaroson on 13 August. The ICTR Prosecutor requested the Tribunal to grant the transfer which was a condition of Bagaragaza’s voluntary surrender. The order permits the accused to remain in detention at ICTY for six months, renewable for one further six-month period.
The Prosecutor requested detention of the accused in The Hague rather than at the UN Detention Facility in Arusha because of concerns for Bagaragaza’s security in light of his voluntary surrender to the Tribunal.
The transfer was granted under Rule 64 of the “Rules Covering the Detention of Persons Awaiting Trial or Appeal Before the Tribunal or Otherwise Detained on the Authority of the Tribunal.” Jean Kambanda was similarly transferred to The Netherlands for detention.
During the 1994 genocide, Bagaragaza was director general of the office controlling the Rwandan tea industry. He is charged with conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide and complicity in genocide. He allegedly ordered his subordinates and instigated, aided and abetted others over whom he did not have authority, to kill hundreds of Tutsi civilians who sought refuge on Kesho Hill near a tea factory in Rubaya and in Nyundo Cathedral, both in Gisenyi Prefecture.
He also allegedly ordered tea factory employees to provide the Interahamwe militia with fuel for vehicles, arms and ammunition from a stockpile at the factory and ordered factory personnel to assist them in killing hundreds of Tutsi.
Bagaragaza was born on 25 July, 1945 in Giciye Commune, Gisenyi Prefecture. He surrendered at the ICTR headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania on 16 August.
His transfer to The Hague was facilitated through the continued cooperation of the government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands with the Tribunal and by the excellent collaborative relationship between the ICTR and the ICTY.