Genocide suspect expected in the country

Monday October 1 2018


Rwanda’s judiciary is being praised for its boldness in pushing for genocide suspects to be extradited to face justice. PHOTO: FILE 

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Wenceslas Twagirayezu, the second genocide suspect facing extradition from Denmark, is expected in the country any time after evading justice for the past one year.

The extradition, according to officials, will be another score for the country’s judicial system, which is expected to handle the trial of the genocide suspect.

Arrested last year in May, Mr Twagirayezu 51-year-old genocide fugitive is believed to have evaded justice since then by claiming the Rwandan government had mistaken him for someone else in Denmark where he has lived since 1997.

Justice Minister Johnston Busingye welcomed the move as a step forward in strengthening co-operation with countries hosting genocide fugitives. It also shows Interpol’s effectiveness and remarkable institutional capacity to have suspects arrested and brought to book.

“I would simply tell you that it is good for suspects to come to the country and have their day in court,” said Mr Busingye.

However, officials from the Rwanda National Prosecution Authority said they were yet to get official communication from the Danish government on the exact day Mr Twagirayezu willbe extradited, adding that the suspect will be tried by the High Court Chamber for International Crimes.

In interview with Danish papers, Mr Twagirayezu said, “If I'm being extradited, I will accept that my time to die has come.”

Mr Twagirayezu, who received Danish citizenship in 2014, is believed to have been under close observation by the Denmark government, which according to reports had been conducting an investigation and interviewed witnesses in Rwanda.

Mr Twagirayezu is accused of having participated in the systematic killings of thousands of Tutsi in the former Gisenyi Prefecture, currently Rubavu District.

He allegedly used to walk on the streets brandishing a gun accompanied by his dogs, which helped him track Tutsis.

Lately, the judiciary’s boldness has continued to mount pressure on western countries harbouring genocide perpetrators, whose arrest warrants currently number 911 genocide suspects from 399 in 2015.

Of the 911 warrants issued worldwide by April, majority of them are said to have been sent to African countries with Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo hosting 545 genocide suspects.

While Denmark had been requested to arrest, try or extradite three genocide suspects believed to have sought refuge there, Mr Twagirayezu’s arrest follows the 2014 extradition of Emmanuel Mbarushimana and another suspect who is yet to be arrested.

In his comments previously to the media, Jean Bosco Siboyintore, a national prosecutor in charge of genocide tracking unit at NPPA said it was difficult to say whether it has been unwillingness or lack of co-operation because some countries had not responded to their requests for extradition of suspects.

Countries like Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, US, Canada and others have come on board and tried suspects, while others decided to extradite suspects for trial in Rwanda.