Rwanda, Burundi negotiate extradition accord

• Rwanda negotiating with other 29 states A three-man delegation from Rwanda left for Burundi early this week to discuss having in place an extradition treaty between the two countries, The New Times has learnt.

• Rwanda negotiating with other 29 states

A three-man delegation from Rwanda left for Burundi early this week to discuss having in place an extradition treaty between the two countries, The New Times has learnt.

This follows Rwanda’s announcement that thousands of Burundians who participated in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi were still roaming freely, mostly in Burundi.

The delegation that left for the negotiations is a sub committee of the joint commission of the two countries that was selected last year to study how the two countries can strengthen bilateral relationship in relation to cracking down criminals.

“The team has gone to Burundi and will spend three days discussing the extradition model,” Isabelle Kalihangabo, Assistant Attorney General-legal Advisory service in the Ministry of Justice said Wednesday.

In the meeting, which is the second of its nature, the two teams discussed how requests of extradition can be carried out, and principles of the extradition to be followed based on laws of both countries.

According to Kalihangabo, the joint commission is comprised of Ministry of Justice, Rwanda National Police, National Public Prosecution Authority, Immigration and Emigration Department, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

She however stressed that the treaty, once in place, will not only affect Genocide suspects, but any other crime that may be committed in either country.

She said that when all necessary amendments are done in the extradition treaty model drafted by Rwanda on request, both countries will have to ratify it.

Apart from Burundi, Rwanda is currently negotiating to have extradition treaties with about 29 other countries both in and outside Africa.

Karihangabo maintains that of these, only six countries have reached an advanced stage of negotiations for extradition treaty include Zambia, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to sources from the judiciary, securing extradition treaties with these six countries will be a major boost to the efforts to track down suspects responsible for the 1994 Genocide that left over a million people dead.

Apart from Burundi, thousands of suspects are also reported to be in the DRC while scores of others are in southern African states that include Zambia from where they have freely gone about their businesses unabated.

“We have negotiated with every country where we suspect Genocide suspects may hiding and where Rwandans can have activities and we shall continue negotiating,” Kalihangabo noted.

Prosecution has previously made requests for extradition of these suspects in different countries, some have even been put on Interpol Red Notice but the major impediment has been lack of extradition treaties with host countries.

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