KIGALI - A Rwandan couple, working in a South African hospital can only answer to Genocide crimes they allegedly committed during the 1994 genocide against Tutsi if an international arrest warrant is issued.
The First Counselor at the Rwandan High Commission in South Africa, Jean Paul Nyirubutama, yesterday confirmed that the couple is indeed employed by the hospital, and said that their fate will be decided by an international arrest warrant.
“Although they have South African citizenship, all that is needed now is to have an international arrest warrant issued with complete information on crimes they committed,” Nyirubutama said in a phone interview.
Dr Pierre Mugabo and his wife Felicité Musanganire are said to be working at the pharmacology department of the hospital under the University of Western Cape.
Mugabo was sentenced to 30 years by the Gacaca court of Ngoma Sector, Southern Province last year, while his wife was sentenced to 25 years in 2006.
According to Nyirubutama, the couple, which lives with an unspecified number of dependants, has reportedly been persuading the University hospital to disregard their criminal records, claiming they are lies leveled against them.
According to an article published in the Guardian, a South African newspaper, the university will continue to employ Mugabo on the grounds that charges against him had yet to be brought before court.
Nyirubutama added that South Africa’s common law system accepts its nationals to be extradited even in the absence of an extradition treaty signed with the country where the crimes were committed.
In a separate interview, the Spokesperson of the National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) Augustin Nkusi ,said that a proposal on having an extradition treaty between the two countries had been sent to South Africa.
“We are waiting for their response,” Nkusi said. “It is now a year since we sent it to them.”
He added that in the event that the couple is not extradited, it will be possible that the Gacaca court judgments will be passed to South Africa to be executed in the country.