Episode 64 – Track and Trace with Serge Brammertz

Serge Brammertz interviewed by Stephanie and Janet at the Hague Humanity Hub

To mark the start of the trial of Félicien Kabuga, alleged financier of the Rwanda genocide, we invited Serge Brammertz, Prosecutor of the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Trials to talk tracking. 

Kabuga is a businessman accused of funding the Hutu extremism responsible for the Rwanda genocide. 26 years after the crime, Serge’s team managed to track him down via phone pings to a cell tower in Paris, close to where the French authorities then arrested him in 2020. The trial, starting on September 29 in the Hague, represents another tick for the Mechanism in tracking down the handful of remaining fugitives from the Rwanda Tribunal (ICTR). 

4 of the remaining 8 indictees have been found since 2017 when Serge Brammertz started leading the team. Serge tells us how he shifted from relying on a wide network of informants to following persons of interest – often family – close to the fugitives. He explains the importance of analysing financial transactions and travel patterns. And ultimately, pulling all of these data together to cooperate across countries. 

Serge shares how they prepared for the trial but he also looks at the future work of the Mechanism. After tracking down the 4 remaining fugitives, a lot of support still needs to be given to the national legal system, he explains. 

Serge leaves the reading suggestions to Janet and Stephanie, who are both “just working and reading”. Janet is catching up on Sally Hayden’s My Fourth Time, We Drowned and Stephanie is finishing up The Last Colony by Philippe Sands. Check out the episodes that each feature the authors!