UK’s Great Lakes Region envoy should advocate for trial of Genocide fugitives

Simon Mustard, the United Kingdom’s Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, made very wonderful remarks during his recent visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, where he paid tribute to over 250,000 victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi interred there.
A man looks at the photos of some of the 1994 Genocide victims at Kigali Genocide Memorial. / File
A man looks at the photos of some of the 1994 Genocide victims at Kigali Genocide Memorial. / File

Editor,

RE: “Genocide: UK envoy should have addressed his own country’s indifference to justice” (The New Times, November 4).

Simon Mustard, the United Kingdom’s Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, made very wonderful remarks during his recent visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, where he paid tribute to over 250,000 victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi interred there.

He urged countries within the region and beyond that they need to draw lessons from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda so as to consistently promote peace and harmony among their people.

However, I was left rather puzzled. Does the diplomat agree with his remarks or was it about saying what was needed to be said at the moment?

I believe the answer to my question about whether he agrees with his remarks, is yes. Because he saw firsthand information about how the savage Genocide against the Tutsi was committed.

Would he then convince his own country to arraign the perpetrators of this Genocide before courts to account for their deeds?

In July, the High Court of Justice of England and Wales ruled out extradition of five genocide fugitives in his country even as tangible proof illustrate their role in a genocide that claimed over one million people in just three months.

In the interest of justice, let at least these suspects be tried in the UK if courts there cannot extradite them to Rwanda and this is part of my message to the good diplomat.

Most probably the problem lies elsewhere and not on the issue of ensuring fair justice for these suspects.

If the issue was about getting fair and impartial justice, the UK courts should have borrowed a leaf from other countries that have extradited suspects to Rwanda—and have seen it that those suspects are tried through a process that meets international standards.

For instance, Canada deported Léon Mugesera; The Netherlands brought back Jean-Baptiste Mugimba and Jean-Claude Iyamuremye (notorious as Nzinga); USA returned Prof. Léopold Munyakazi, among others. ICTR handed over Jean Uwinkindi, Ladislas Ntaganzwa, and Bernard Munyagishari.

Let us believe that what Mustard saw will mean a lot to his country vis-a-vis the respite granted to Genocide fugitives in his country.

Bemba

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