Rwanda seeks extradition of over 1000 Genocide suspects

Genocide suspect Wenceslas Twagirayezu on arrival at Kigali International Airport after he was deported from Denmark last year. File.

In its continuous pursuit of justice, the Rwandan government has sent more than 1000 requests seeking for the extradition of Genocide suspects spread all over the world.

The Minister for Justice, Johnston Busingye, told members of the parliamentary committee on national unity, human rights and the fight against genocide yesterday that the unit in charge of tracking suspects is working on files seeking to bring suspects to book.

“We are constantly working with these countries and some of the suspects who have been sent back here from countries like Norway and the US have been brought here as a result of our extradition requests,” he said.

Other matters

Busingye told the lawmakers that cooperation of countries is of paramount value on justice matters.

Although it is still low, he said, it is better than it was years back.

“When it comes to cooperation between countries in areas like infrastructure, education, health and other sectors, it’s a much faster process,” he noted. However, when it comes to, for example, signing off extradition, it can sometimes even take twenty years. This is not only in Rwanda, it is global.”

Rwanda, he added, is not discouraged by the challenges and continues to push for justice.

“There are countries whose domestic laws slow down the processes but there is no country that has refused to work with us. We have also fixed the issues that these countries used to raise when considering extradition, so there is no outstanding issue on our side,” he said.

Comfort of witnesses

The Spokesman of the National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA), Faustin Nkusi, told journalists on the sidelines of the meeting that one of the issues that had been raised at the meeting was the challenge faced by survivors when they are summoned to testify because many are too poor to afford transportation fees.

“What normally happens is that the witness will travel and be reimbursed upon arrival. However, the committee has requested us to look into how we can pay the fees before travel and we are going to look into it.”

Nkusi was also tasked to explain what is being done to protect witnesses after attending the gruelling court sessions, making them vulnerable to trauma.

“We have not had an issue regarding that because we always have teams on standby to intervene in case something happens. The witnesses are prepared emotionally by professional counsellors before they appear in court but also after. We have a toll free number that they can call anytime,” he said.