The Rwanda National Police (RNP) has commended its Ugandan counterpart for ‘honouring its international and bilateral obligations’ in arresting Joel Mutabazi, and will continue to pursue his arrest and extradition.
Mutabazi, a former member of the Rwandan Military, who was granted refugee status is wanted for criminal offences he committed before fleeing to Uganda, including armed robbery at Banque de Kigali, Remera branch in 2011.
Uganda Police arrested Mutabazi on Monday in Kyaliwajala, a Kampala suburb on the basis of the Interpol-Kigali diffusion request that had been issued against him. The request to arrest and extradite Mutabazi was sent on August 14, 2013. He was later released on grounds that he had secured a refugee status under the UNHCR.
“Our counterparts in the Uganda Police had legitimate grounds to arrest Mutabazi on the basis of a valid formal request and to initiate his extradition to Rwanda in keeping with their international obligations. No Rwandan official was involved in his arrest,” Police Spokesperson, ACP Theos Badege said in a statement yesterday, adding that; “RNP stands by an Interpol diffusion request sent to our counterpart in Uganda.”
“What we have done is a normal police procedure in fugitives tracking in accordance with international police cooperation. The refugee status shouldn’t be used as a cover up to evade justice,” ACP Badege said.
“This is also in line with the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation [EAPCCO] agreement on extradition and exchange of fugitives and other sentence criminals, which Rwanda has signed and rectified.”
The agreement was signed by the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (EAPCCO) member countries as a tool to facilitate the fight against transnational crimes.
RNP and the Uganda Police Force also have bilateral agreement on police cooperation.