Rwanda To Appeal British Court Refusal To Extradite Genocide Suspects

Some 90,000 Rwandan refugees wait to get food from the Red Cross, in May 1994, at a refugee camp in Tanzania. By Alexander Joe (AFP/File)

Nairobi (AFP) - Rwanda will appeal a British court's refusal to extradite five men accused of taking part in the 1994 genocide to face charges in Kigali, reports said on Thursday.

The five men are Vincent Brown -- also known as Vincent Bajinya -- Charles Munyaneza, Emmanuel Nteziryayo, Celestin Ugirashebuja and Celeste Mutabaruka.

They are accused by Rwanda of genocide, complicity in genocide, crimes against humanity, conspiracy to murder, forming a criminal gang and inciting disorder.

Around 800,000 people -- mostly members of the minority Tutsi community -- were slaughtered in a 100-day orgy of violence, largely by ethnic Hutus.

"We are very disappointed by the decision but we will continue to fight for their extradition by pursuing appeals in higher courts," Rwanda's Prosecutor-General Richard Muhumuza said, according to the pro-government New Times newspaper.

An appeal court should "separate evidence from politics, distinguish hearsay from facts and properly evaluate evidence," Muhumuza said.

The judge in court in London on Tuesday, Emma Arbuthnot, denied the Rwanda government extradition request citing human rights concerns. A previous extradition request was turned down in 2009.

"I have no doubt at all that the overall picture of Rwanda is of an authoritarian repressive state that is not less so than it was and is probably more so than in 2008-9, a state that is stifling opposition in a number of ways," the ruling read.

"There is evidence that the state is suspected of threatening and killing those it considers to be its opponents or they simply disappear at home and abroad. There is evidence that suspects can be tortured in secret camps where basic human rights are ignored."

Earlier this month one of nine top fugitive Rwandan genocide suspects, a former mayor accused of slaughtering thousands of people and organising mass rapes in 1994, was arrested in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rwanda has requested he be extradited to face trial in Kigali.

Source: AFP
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