May 11, 2019

Chief Prosecutor Not Aware If Interpol Rejected ex-Minister Mitali Red Notice

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Prosecutor General Jean Bosco Mutangana says as far as he is concerned, former minister and ambassador Protais Mitali is still a wanted man. However, Interpol doesn’t want to talk about this particular case.

Mutangana told The Chronicles on Friday that he was not aware whether the global policing agency Interpol had dropped Mitali’s arrest warrant.

Mitali was fired from cabinet as Sports and Culture Minister in April 2014. He was posted to Ethiopia as country envoy and AU Representative.

Within a few months, he fled his office without any trace. In mid 2015, Mitali appeared on the Interpol site, like all suspects wanted internationally.

He had been accused by his Liberal Party colleagues of embezzling Rwf 63million from the party coffers when he was still its leader. Current Speaker of the Lower Chamber of Deputies Donatille Mukabalisa took over the party. Prosecution issued warrant for his arrest.

However, it is unclear when his name was removed from the Interpol database, but by March this year, he was a free man.

On March 28, after staying off the radar for all this time, Mitali surfaced at a conference in Belgium which was part of commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the 1994 against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

Seated in the audience, Mitali did not seem like a wanted criminal. He did not make any comments.

When The Chronicles contacted Interpol some days later, the France-based agency refused to discuss Mitali.

“Whilst we cannot comment about specific cases, generally, the reasons why a published Red Notice would be removed from Interpol’s website could include…,” said the body in email.

Interpol went on list the grounds for a suspect to be dropped from its database as:

  • the suspect has been arrested and extradited the suspect is deceased,
  • the country which requested a Red Notice has withdrawn its request for such a Notice,
  • the judicial authorities in the country behind the Red Notice have withdrawn its national arrest warrant against a suspect,
  • the Red Notice is the subject of an appeal,
  • the Red Notice has been cancelled,
  • the status of the notice has changed from public to restricted.

In Mitali’s case, Rwanda’s top prosecutor Mutangana did not make any specifics about the case in our interview.

“Well, Prosecution filed arrest warrant with Interpol, I cannot know whether Interpol dropped his case. Up to this moment, Mitali’s case remains unsolved. It means Prosecution is still pursuing him,” said Mutangana.

“[Liberal Party] which filed a criminal case against him did not withdraw it. Protais Mitali is being pursued like any Rwandan would be. There is nothing specific about him which would make him immune from prosecution.”

“…as far as am concerned, he is still on Interpol list. If he has been removed, that is up to the Management of Interpol. Prosecution in Rwanda still wants him.”

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