Rwanda right to apply Universal jurisdiction law

No one should begrudge Rwanda the intention to indict some foreigners who participated in the 1994 Genocide – especially when the evidence is simply overwhelming.Minister of Information in the Prime Minister’s Office announced on Monday that national judicial institutions were going to explore legal possibilities of indicting non-Rwandan Genocide perpetrators.

No one should begrudge Rwanda the intention to indict some foreigners who participated in the 1994 Genocide – especially when the evidence is simply overwhelming.
Minister of Information in the Prime Minister’s Office announced on Monday that national judicial institutions were going to explore legal possibilities of indicting non-Rwandan Genocide perpetrators.

President Paul Kagame repeated the message to journalists yesterday at a press conference conducted at his Urugwiro office. The Prosecutor General, who was also present at the meeting, said it was not a new law being enacted, but an old one being applied out of necessity.

The Information minister pointed out that it was not a tit-for-tat game, though we think there is not much of a problem seeing it as a typical case of what ‘France, Spain can do under such circumstances, Rwanda can do even better’.

France in 2007 and Spain earlier this year, allowed their judges to abuse the Universal Jurisdiction provision in their national laws when they indicted a number of Rwandans, alleging that they committed crimes against humanity.

The indictments have widely been seen as politically motivated for the various legal international standards they flouted. For example the indicted were not served with any notices, and no known prior investigations were carried out in Rwanda where the crimes were allegedly committed, 
Besides, co-operation from Rwandan judicial authorities was not sought, while the affected people’s side of the story was never heard.

The judges are said to have merely relied on hearsay and media reports to reach such highly sensitive judicial conclusions. The above procedures disregarded by the European judges are what the Prosecutor General confidently proclaimed will be followed.

Rwandan judiciary has promised adherence to international judicial procedures and legal frameworks. Add to this the evidence that the Mucyo Genocide Commission report will most likely provide when it comes out next month, and the result should be fair justice for the foreign suspects. 

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