The umbrella body for Genocide survivors’ associations, Ibuka, has criticized the Dutch Parliament for asking the country’s Ministry of Security and Justice to suspend the extradition of two Genocide suspects to Rwanda.
The lawmakers allege that extraditing Jean-Baptiste Mugimba and Jean-Claude Iyamuremye would dent the country’s democratic credentials.
“We were satisfied by the country’s court decision to pave way for the suspects to be extradited to Rwanda, but we are deeply disappointed by this sudden attempt by lawmakers to interfere in matters of justice,” Ibuka president, Prof. Jean-Pierre Dusingizemungu, told The New Times on Wednesday.
“Developed countries should be the first to set a good example in matters of justice. But this kind of influence peddling simply implies injustice. It points to the possibility that the MPs behind it are the same people supporting Genocide deniers and revisionists.”
Dusingizemungu, however, noted that Ibuka is encouraged by the fact that at a time when the Dutch Parliament was calling for the extradition to be halted, the United States of America has set a good example by deporting Genocide suspect Leopold Munyakazi.
Munyakazi, who arrived in Kigali on Wednesday, allegedly played a major role in planning, mobilising and executing the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“As these Dutch lawmakers request for the suspension of the extradition, here we have the US doing the right thing. This is a good message to the Dutch Parliament. They should take their cue from the US and understand that they are wrong,” Dusingizemungu said.
“Meanwhile, we are requesting Rwanda to engage with a visiting Dutch delegation currently in the country and let them know the truth. Our country’s judiciary and prosecution handle trials of extradited Genocide suspects in a manner that fully complies with international standards. The delegation should be shown the facts about this.”
Several members of the Netherlands Advisory Panel on Justice and Rule of Law are in the country attending a two-day bilateral round-table in Kigali under the theme: “Together for a participative and affordable justice.”
In June last year, Rwandan Advisory Panel members visited the Netherlands in accordance with a Memorandum of Understanding establishing the Rwanda-Netherlands Advisory Panel on Justice and Rule of Law signed by the two governments in November 2014.
It was primarily geared to enhance judicial cooperation, mutual legal assistance and policy dialogue between relevant Dutch stakeholders in the area of justice and rule of law.
The main purpose of the ongoing meeting is to enhance judicial cooperation, mutual legal assistance and policy dialogues between relevant stakeholders from both countries in the area of justice and rule of law.
Siebe Riedstra, the Secretary General in the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice, who is leading the visiting delegation, yesterday, declined to comment on the matter until his ‘line minister gives a full response to our parliament.’
Meanwhile, the chairperson of Ibuka chapter in The Netherlands, Christian Mundele, said that the image of the Dutch judicial system would be seriously dented if the extradition was halted.
“The Kingdom of the Netherlands is one of the most exemplary democracies in the world and we find it unacceptable that a parliament can attempt to interfere and obstruct the judicial system,” he is quoted in a statement from Ibuka-Europe, as saying.
“We, Ibuka-Europe, request the Dutch Minister of Justice not to honour this parliamentary recommendation and to respect the judicial decision.”
Iyamuremye and Mugimba have been living with their families in the Netherlands. In July, a Dutch court ruled to extradite the two suspects to Rwanda at the end of the extradition hearing.
The court ruled that it was preferable that suspects be judged in the country where the Genocide took place. The court found that there was no valid reason to support fears that the suspects would not receive appropriate legal services while in Rwanda.