Dutch gov’t to act on Genocide fugitives

KIGALI - The Dutch Minister of Justice Dr. Ernst Hirsch Ballin has re-emphasized the urgent need to bring to book Genocide fugitives still moving freely in Europe.
Dutch Minister, Ernst Hirsch Ballin (R), during his visit to a TIG tailoring workshop in Bugesera District yesterday (Photo; J. Mbanda)
Dutch Minister, Ernst Hirsch Ballin (R), during his visit to a TIG tailoring workshop in Bugesera District yesterday (Photo; J. Mbanda)

KIGALI - The Dutch Minister of Justice Dr. Ernst Hirsch Ballin has re-emphasized the urgent need to bring to book Genocide fugitives still moving freely in Europe.

Ballin, who has been in the country on a working visit, made the remarks yesterday after visiting two genocide memorial sites in Bugesera, Eastern Province.

Currently, a big number of masterminds of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi have found safe haven in several western countries and have neither been tried nor extradited to face these charges.  

“We were on the right track in 2008 when we decided three measures against Genocide fugitives in our country; one is to have them punished in their home country, the other is the ICTR and the third option is bringing them to justice in the Netherlands.

“We don’t want to see suspects moving freely,” said Ballin.
This September, the European Court of Justice is expected to rule on whether Rwandan Genocide suspects and convicts could be tried in Europe or extradited to Rwanda.

Netherlands is a member of the court and its decision will have a direct impact on how the Dutch want to handle cases of Genocide fugitives, although the Dutch minister supported the proposal of having fugitives extradited.

“As a minister of justice, I attest that justice is being done here in Rwanda. It is done in such a way that people are groomed to respect other human beings as they ought to be respected,” said Ballin.

The Dutch Minister concluded his three-day visit yesterday afternoon, but before departing, he visited genocide convicts currently serving part of their sentences in community service (TIG).

The site Ballin visited, which is also in Bugesera, harbours 3,092 convicts.

“Justice is being dispensed here and it’s effectively contributing to the building of society,” he said.

Prior to his visit to the TIG site, Ballin had visited Ntarama and Nyamata memorial sites where he spent time inside the memorials mourning and listening to testimonies of how the Genocide was planned and executed.

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