Lindy Cameron, the Director General for Country Programmes of the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID), has said that her government takes seriously Rwanda’s request to investigate génocidaires who have, for over a decade, found safe haven in the European country.
Cameron, who oversees DfID’s programmes in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Overseas Territories, said this after paying a visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial on Wednesday.
“We are taking seriously the Government of Rwanda’s request to investigate the five alleged genocidaires in the UK and I can tell you that the Metropolitan Police have been here for visits,” she told the media after laying a wreath on the remains of the Genocide victims.
Twelve years ago, Rwanda issued indictments detailing the crimes the five men – all of whom held key leadership positions during the genocidal regime – allegedly 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 include Dr Vincent Bajinya, Célestin Ugirashebuja, Charles Munyaneza, Emmanuel Nteziryayo and Célestin Mutabaruka.
UK court rejected Rwanda’s request to extradite the five men, but last year the government said fresh investigation into the men who masterminded the Genocide had begun.
“The Metropolitan Police and current prosecution service in the UK are taking seriously that request, and we hope to be able to make further announcements soon,” Lindy added.
Cameron said the purpose of the visit was to express solidarity with the Rwandan people ahead of the 25th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi.
She is also meeting various government officials and private sector leaders to discuss how UK can continue to support Rwanda as it adapts to new development challenges.
The UK has been Rwanda’s leading development partner for the past 25 years.
This includes DfID Rwanda’s work and its contribution through multilateral organisations working in Rwanda. Its priority sectors are education, agriculture, social protection, supporting economic growth and taxation.
“I hope that the kind of investment that Rwanda makes in its people – in its human capital – will give it the potential to be a nation that is able to take real advantage of the future opportunities in technologies and be able to survive in the kind of markets that exist in decades to come as well as today,” she noted.
Lindy said her government has been trying to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the agricultural sector in Rwanda, but that UK was not just a development partner but also a big investor in the country.
“Actually we have a strong interest in Rwanda being not only a stable, thriving economy in the future but also achieve prosperity and stability in the region as well. Therefore, it is important to understand the opportunities that exist in the private sector both in UK and in Rwanda,” she said.
Currently, UK is one of the largest investors in Rwanda, with investments in tea and coffee, mining and energy, among others.
Last year, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) indicated that Rwanda had attracted 10 investment projects from UK worth $203.1 million (about Rwf18.1 billion.