Kabuga arrest puts UK’s attitude back in the spotlight

Andrew Mitchell, a British Conservative Party politician and former secretary of state for international development, is among the voices now again urging legal authorities in his country to act on five genocide perpetrators living in the UK, "not in hiding but in plain sight."

Mitchell on Thursday, May 21, published an article noting that last weekend, the French authorities arrested Félicien Kabuga - one of the masterminds of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, wanted for crimes against humanity.


The long-term legislator stated that, regarding the perpetrators of the Genocide against the Tutsi living in the UK for more than 11 years, "the British legal system has gone backwards and forwards debating the legal niceties."


"The British taxpayer has spent more than £3 million as the legal process has meandered along — four of the accused are living on British benefits," he wrote.


"After a request from the Rwandan government to try these five in Britain, the Metropolitan Police indicated that it could take another ten years to process the evidence, although almost all of it is available from previous legal intervention."

The five suspects are Vincent Bajinya, Célestin Ugirashebuja, Charles Munyaneza, Emmanuel Nteziryayo and Célestin Mutabaruka.

Kigali has always stressed that it is ready to support efforts by UK authorities to bring to justice five Rwandan men suspected of participating in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Nearly 12 years on, a decision is still pending on five separate extradition cases of Genocide suspects in the UK.

"Does anyone seriously believe that the authorities would take the same laid-back approach if these allegations were made against Holocaust perpetrators?

"Is it any wonder that senior Africans accuse Britain of hypocrisy? To them, it looks suspiciously as if crimes against white Europeans are taken more seriously than those perpetrated against black Africans. When the Rwandan prosecutor-general came to Britain to argue his case, the director of public prosecutions at the time did not even bother to find the time to see him," he said.

Members of Urumuri, an association Genocide survivors living in the UK, also indicated they are delighted with the arrest of Kabuga in Paris last weekend.

"Still, this brings into question; why has the British Government turned a blind eye to Genocide Against the Tutsi and failed to bring the five genocidaires to face justice? Urumuri is hoping that the UK Government will learn from a country like France and many others," Chantal Uwamahoro, a member of the association said.

"It is shocking that the UK has become a safe haven for the genocidaires. Justice delayed is justice denied and we continue to strongly call upon the UK Government to stop harbouring genocide perpetrators and bring them to account for their atrocities. There is no excuse for the UK to not trial the five fugitives if they cannot be extradited to Rwanda."

Failure to understand the danger these fugitives pose

Linda Melvern, British journalist and author of a new book, "The Intent to Deceive," which details how, 26 years after the Genocide, the core group of those who organised, paid for and perpetrated the killings remains determined to continue that crime, also weighed in.

Melvern told The New Times that in the UK there are five fugitives who were identified and apprehended but whose lawyers after long and costly court battles ensured their continual freedom.

She said: "What continues to worry the Crown Prosecution Service lawyers in London is the number of genocide fugitives believed to be living in the UK, and the extent of the genocide fugitive problem.

"In the press and in Parliament in the UK there seems to be a failure to understand the danger these fugitives pose, the gravity of their alleged crimes and how they continue to distort the true nature of this crime against humanity."

According to her, the failure to ensure that the Rwandan fugitives face justice "flies in the face of the 1948 Genocide Convention" which requires states in a treaty obligation to prevent and punish the crime.

Eric Eugene Murangwa, Chief Executive of Ishami Foundation, another Rwandan group in the UK, also urged legal authorities there to do the right thing.

According to him, the UK government has denied survivors justice by refusing to extradite or put to trial the five genocidaires.

He said: "The failure of UK judicial system to bring justice only increases Genocide denial and affects survivors healing process.”

"We therefore strongly call on the UK government and national governments and the international community as a whole to stand on the side of Genocide victims. Take all accused genocidaires off the streets of the UK and other capitals and cities across the world and send them to face justice where they committed the crime."

We should all be ashamed

The US, Canada, France, Belgium, Sweden and other countries have extradited some of those accused of taking part in the 1994 Genocide back to Rwanda to face justice.

"In Britain, meanwhile, justice delayed is justice denied. The souls of the slaughtered Tutsis cry out for justice but Britain has turned a deaf ear. We should all be ashamed," Mitchell noted.


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