KIGALI - Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga, has said Wednesday’s decision by a French court to release Eugene Rwamucyo, suspected of involvement in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, is clearly disrespectful to Rwanda.
He said that the refusal to extradite Rwamucyo is not based on lack of evidence, but lack of trust in the Rwandan justice system to handle a Genocide case.
“This is purely another case of how European jurisdictions continue to disrespect the justice systems of Rwanda. I would say it is their general attitude towards African jurisdictions,” he said.
Ngoga also questioned the procedures used by the Versailles-based court in delivering a judgment, citing some unusual methods.
“The case was ruled in an unusual way without a copy of the judgment. The ruling took only five minutes and the judges released him without giving any reason and without providing any document so that people can base on that to assess the ruling,” said Ngoga.
He added, “This is another very disturbing setback coming at a time when we thought we were going through a positive trend, particularly with France”.
The Prosecutor General pointed out that France is one of the counties where the biggest numbers of Genocide suspects are moving freely and that the country remains one of the many European States where there has not been significant progress in terms of pursuing the ‘Genocidaires’.
“With France, there is an established pattern of ups and downs in terms of how they approach this problem. You can recall the cases involving Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, Agatha Kanziga and others. At one time, it looks like you have a positive trend and a change of attitude, the following day there is another setback,” he said.
“They think we cannot deliver justice, but at the same time they cannot deliver justice. If France had said that they are not going to extradite this person to Rwanda because you cannot deliver justice, but we, the French system are going to deliver justice, then they would look wiser.
“What is happening now is the creation of the impunity gap; the suspects can’t be extradited and they can’t be prosecuted in France.”
He pointed out that the status quo is such that a jurisdiction in Europe that claims to be credible is incapable of dealing with a problem as serious as a Genocide case.
“It looks like Rwandan justice is on trial and not these suspects, but certainly these European jurisdictions are not just doing a disservice to the Rwandan people, they are also doing a disservice to themselves”.
“I don’t think a country that prefers to keep a Genocide suspect on its territory with impunity is doing any meaningful project for itself,” he said.
Ngoga asserted that Rwanda would not get frustrated by the setbacks from Europe, and that its pursuit of Genocide suspect will continue until they all face justice.
“We will keep pointing at Rwamucyo and other as people who committed serious crimes here on the basis of the evidence we have.”
Rwamucyo was arrested in May on the basis of an international arrest warrant issued by Rwanda in 2007.
He was picked up while attending a funeral of Jean Bosco Barayagwiza who was convicted for war crimes by the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR) and died in prison.