The first phase of the on-going hearing for the extradition of four Rwandan Genocide suspects ended yesterday at the City of Westminster Magistrates Court in the United Kingdom (UK).
Three of the four suspects; Charles Munyaneza (Kinyamakara), Celestin Ugirashebuja (Kigoma) and Emmanuel Nteziryayo (Mudasomwa, were former Bourgmestres of different communes (now districts) in the southern part of Rwanda.
The fourth, Vincent Bajinya, a medical doctor, was director general of the National Population Service (ONAPO).
“This first phase was specifically to ascertain whether there is a prima facie case against these men,” Martin Ngoga, Rwanda’s Prosecutor General, explained in a telephone interview from the UK yesterday.
“The second will start on November 5,” he added.
Ngoga has been following the proceedings since Monday when the hearings started. He said that the proceedings were on the right track as far as he is concerned.
“I am not the judge who will make the final decision but we are comfortable and feel we have provided enough proof that these people played a role in the Genocide,” Ngoga said.
The second phase, he said, would tackle issues relating to the rights of the accused. If the extradition case is successful, the four suspects would be the first to be extradited from the UK.
Early this year, Rwanda and the UK signed a Memorandum of Understand (MoU) in which Rwanda pledged to respect the rights of the accused if they were transferred to Kigali.
John Bosco Mutangana, the prosecutor in charge of tracking Genocide fugitives, said:
“Some of the rights outlined in the MoU included assuring the UK that these people would have a speedy and fair trial and that they would be detained in an internationally approved facility.”
Sources in the Prosecutor General’s office disclosed that a delegation from the British Embassy in Kigali early this week visited the new facility being built at Kigali Central Prison, which will serve as a transit centre for the suspects.
The London Metropolitan Police arrested the four Rwandan fugitives last December in a well-coordinated operation in London, Manchester, Essex and Bedfordshire.
They are facing charges of Genocide, conspiracy to commit Genocide, complicity in Genocide and crimes against humanity.
They are also accused of premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit murder, formation, membership, leadership and participation in a criminal gang, inciting, aiding or abetting public disorder and participation in the act.
Their arrest came after Rwanda’s appeal to the international community mid last year when a list of 93 most wanted Genocide fugitives was published.
Other countries that responded to the appeal and made some arrests include the Netherlands, Canada and Finland. France and Denmark also arrested some suspects but later released on a temporary basis.