Germany extradites one genocide suspect, government wants more

Monday September 4 2017

The police escort Jean Twagiramungu on August

The police escort Jean Twagiramungu on August 18 after his extradition from Germany. He was extradited to face trial in Rwanda. PHOTO: CYRIL NDEGEYA  

RODRIGUES RWIRAHIRA
By RODRIGUES RWIRAHIRA
More by this Author

Rwandan government has welcomed the extradition of the first genocide suspect by Germany but insists the remaining four genocide suspects should also be arrested, tried in Germany or extradited to Rwanda.

Jean Twagiramungu, a former teacher in Gikongoro Prefecture, in Nyamagabe district, was extradited on August 18 to face trial after a formal request by Rwanda.

While welcoming the latest development, officials from the National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) told Rwanda Today that it would even be better if Germany arrested the other four suspects who are yet to be apprehended.

“We are looking forward to the remaining four suspects extradited or tried in Germany,” said prosecutor Faustin Nkusi, spokesperson of the NPPA.

Mr Nkusi added that Germany had set a good example for other European countries after the successful trial of Onesphore Rwabukombe who was sentenced to life imprisonment by German courts in 2015.

Germany also tried and sentenced two other genocide suspects, Ignace Murwanashyaka and Straton Musoni to 13 and eight years imprisonment respectively in 2011. Rwanda found the ruling unfair and said it would seek to extradite the convicts for a retrial.
Mr Nkusi told Rwanda that Jean Twagiramungu, who is currently detained at the 1930 detention facility in Kigali, will face trial for crimes against humanity.

Advertisement

Twagiramungu who left Rwanda in 1994, is reported to have masterminded the killing of more than 10,000 Tutsis in Rukondo and Karama communes, currently in Nyamagabe district. He contested his extradition after his arrest in Frankfurt, Germany two years ago.

In a statement released a week ago, the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), welcomed the move saying that Germany and Scandinavian countries have been loyal in observing the Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Mounting pressure

Lately, Rwanda has been mounting pressure on western countries that are hosting genocide suspects. There are currently 815 outstanding arrest warrants from 399 in 2015.

Of the 815 international warrants, 640 are said to have been sent to African countries. But, officials say these countries have not shown a willingness to arrest and try genocide suspects.

Countries like Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, the US, Canada and others have tried suspects while others decided to extradite them for trial in Rwanda.
According to Jean Bosco Siboyintore, a national prosecutor in charge of the genocide tracking unit at NPPA, most of the trials conducted abroad have resulted in convictions.

This then goes against the perception that fugitives were being pursued for political reasons or that evidence is fabricated as some suspects have alleged.

Rwanda has been pushing to have genocide suspects tried in the areas where they committed the crimes, a move experts believe would help genocide survivors heal.