A court in the Danish town of Hillerød on Tuesday ruled that Genocide suspect Wenceslas Twangirayezu be handed over to Rwandan authorities for prosecution over genocide crimes he committed in the former Gisenyi prefecture.
Twagirayezu’s defence lawyer, Bjørn Elmquist, reportedly appealed the decision to extradite to the appeals court.
According to information from the Nordic country, the judge ruled that the extradition of the suspect to Rwanda for criminal prosecution is not against the extradition rules and it is not against the relevant rules under the European Human Rights Convention.
During the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Twagirayezu was a regional leader of the Coalition for the Defence of the Republic (CDR) political party, an extremist outfit, in Gacurabwenge Sector in current Rubavu District.
CDR – which formed the core of the architects of the 1994 Genocide – was an extremist political party that took a major role in inciting mass killings.
“The city court of Denmark upheld the decision of the Director of Public Prosecution that Wenceslas be extradited to Rwanda but he immediately appealed to the High Court. We will have to wait for the High Court decision in autumn,” said Prosecutor-General Jean Bosco Mutangana.
The suspect, who was arrested in May last year, has denied the charges against him and maintained that it is a case of mistaken identity. Twagirayezu was arrested in the Danish capital in May 2017.
Danish prosecutors previously pinned him on having been part of a gang of 200 militiamen that attacked the former Mudende University where more than 1,000 people – mainly students, lecturers and other staff – were murdered.
In January, a Danish prosecutor told the court in Hillerød that there was a strong case against Twangirayezu, noting that 25 witnesses were then lined up to pin the accused on the crime of genocide.
About the suspect
Twagirayezu was naturalised as a Danish citizen in 2004, having arrived in the Nordic country in 2001.
Before Genocide, it is said that Twagirayezu, who apparently runs an organisation in Denmark known as Dutabarane Foundation, was a teacher at Majambere Primary School in Busasamana Sector of Rubavu District.
“He was well known in the former communes of Rubavu, Mutura and Rwerere. He openly carried a gun,” a source conversant with the case told The New Times last year.
According to prosecution, the suspect was also the president of the extremist party, CDR, Gacurabwenge, also 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 centre role in the Genocide against the Tutsi.
Danish authorities have previously extradited to Rwanda another Genocide fugitive, a one Emmanuel Mbarushimana, who was in December last year sentenced to life by the Specialised Chamber for International Crimes of the High Court.