Genocide survivors, through Ibuka, the umbrella organisation of survivors’ associations, have welcomed the decision by a Danish court to extradite a Genocide suspect to Rwanda for trial.
The Eastern High Court in Copenhagen on Friday ruled that Wenceslas Twagirayezu can be deported to Rwanda for him to be tried for his role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Twagirayezu was naturalised as a Danish citizen in 2004, having arrived in the Nordic country in 2001. He was, until his arrest in May last year, working for an IT company.
Speaking to The New Times yesterday, Napthal Ahishakiye, the Ibuka executive secretary welcomed the decision saying it is a positive move.
“While we agree that people who committed genocide can be tried wherever they are arrested, if the host country wants to try them, it is always our wish to have the fugitives extradited to stand trial where the crime was committed so that witnesses can be heard and survivors get to see justice being done,” he said by phone.
He added: “We have experience that whenever Genocide suspects are tried from elsewhere, there are problems related to getting enough testimonies from witnesses and this may lead to the acquittal of suspects,” he said.
Ahishakiye also called on other countries that still host Genocide convicts to borrow a leaf from Denmark, arrest the fugitives, and either try them or extradite them to Rwanda.
Denmark has so far extradited to Rwanda one Genocide suspect in Emmanuel Mbarushimana.
Extradited in 2014, Mbarushimana, a former inspector of schools, is currently on trial at the specialised chamber for international crimes of the High Court.
“Let them be put on trial, if they are found by courts not to have committed the Genocide, they will be freed and I believe it would be good for them to clear their name, but the most important thing for us as survivors is to see those responsible for the deaths of our loved ones brought to book,” he said.
Who is Twagirayezu?
Twagirayezu arrived in Denmark in 2001.
It is said that Twagirayezu, who apparently runs an organisation in Denmark known as Dutabarane Foundation, was once a teacher at Majambere Primary School in Busasamana Sector of the present Rubavu District.
He was well known in the former communes of Rubavu, Mutura and Rwerere in the current Western Province. He openly carried a gun during the Genocide, according to witness testimonies.
According to prosecution, the suspect was the president of the extremist party, CDR, in the former Gacurabwenge Sector in the current Rubavu District, and was a known militia leader in the area during the Genocide against the Tutsi.
CDR was composed of the most virulent members of the extremist political outfits that played a major role in the Genocide.
Prosecution says that Rwanda issued 853 international arrest warrants for Genocide fugitives in different parts of the world by the end of 2017.