The British government will continue working with their Rwandan counterparts in efforts to bring to book five Genocide suspects that are currently in their country; the British High Commissioner to Rwanda, Jo Lomas, said last Friday.
Addressing a news conference, Lomas said that though the decision not to extradite the suspects was reached at by the Supreme Court and cannot be overturned, Rwandans’ frustrations were well founded and cannot be ignored.
“Our Supreme Court ruled against the extradition but I also want to be clear that that wasn’t a political decision, it was a judicial and technical decision. We understand the frustrations of the government and citizens of Rwanda and we understand why you want to see them brought to trial and we are working together to find a solution. We are not ignoring it,” she said.
Rwanda issued indictments eleven years ago detailing the crimes the five men – all of whom held key leadership positions under the genocidal regime –committed during the Genocide but following several rounds of arrests and hearings the UK judiciary released the suspects, arguing they may not get fair trial if extradited to Rwanda.
The suspects are Dr Vincent Bajinya, Célestin Ugirashebuja, Charles Munyaneza, Emmanuel Nteziryayo, and Célestin Mutabaruka.
Lomas said that after the court’s decision, the government had asked that the individuals are brought to justice on the UK territory and the process had begun.
“We were asked to prosecute the individuals ourselves and are currently conducting a preliminary investigation to see what sort of case we have. It’s in the early stages.
On Arsenal deal
Meanwhile, Lomas weighed in on the recent partnership between Arsenal Football Club and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) under the Visit Rwanda campaign.
“I do know that the government has a long-term strategy to attract tourists and more investment and we understand that this partnership is part of that strategy. I hope that it works out and I wish them success,” she said.
The Head of the Department for International Development (DfID), Sarah Metcalfe, told journalists that the DFID bi-lateral programme for Rwanda for the next financial year 2018/2019 stands at £57m.
“That amount doesn’t capture everything that DfID does here. That budget finances a broader range of things. We have a programme strategy for the national strategy for transformation.
“We have a programme that supports the country’s economic development where TradeMark East Africa constitutes one part, then we have a programme that concerns skills building for the future and a third part that concerns institutional building and a range of other activities,” she said.
Last year, UK was the second single largest bilateral donor to Rwanda.