The Swedish court decision to release a suspected mastermind of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda has irked survivors, who have now appealed to Sweden, the EU and the international community to give Genocide cases their deserved and serious priority.
In detention since 2008, Sylvere Ahorugeze, a former Director of Civil Aviation Authority, was on Wednesday released by a Swedish court that claimed he had overstayed his detention.
Survivors contested the idea that prolonged detentions of mass killers by countries like Sweden now takes precedence over grave charges involving the 1994 Genocide.
Jean Pierre Dusingizimana, the president of IBUKA, yesterday said that some countries always use the pretext of procedures to release mass murderers.
“They should understand that any Genocide case should be given priority. They know the law and if there is evidence required, they ought to put in enough effort and investigations done in time,” he said.
“When such a person is arrested, we are often encouraged that justice will prevail. But when they are released, we feel very let down and we see that some countries do not accord appropriate weight to the crime of Genocide.”
Ahorugeze is charged with six counts: genocide; complicity in genocide; conspiracy to commit genocide; murder; and extermination.
Another count involves ordinary crimes like formation, membership, leadership, and participation in an association of a criminal gang, whose purpose and existence was to harm people or destroy property.
Ahorugeze, who is number 448 on the Rwandan list of the most wanted Genocide suspects, has reportedly returned to his family, in Denmark.
The alleged extremist Interahamwe leader in the Gikondo suburb of Kigali, during the Genocide, fled into exile after the 1994 Genocide and sought refuge in Denmark, in 2005. Shortly after, in 2006, he was arrested, but later released. He never appeared in court.
In 2008, he moved to Stockholm, Sweden, where he was arrested in reaction to an Interpol arrest warrant, for Genocide. He had been detained there since then.
Between April 7 and 30, in 1994, he allegedly chaired and participated in meetings in Gikondo, particularly at a bar in Nyenyeri, where plans to exterminate his Tutsi neighbors were hatched.
Apart from meetings at the infamous Nyenyeri bar, other meetings were purportedly held at his residence during the multi-party politics era of 1992-1993.
He is also alleged to have supplied military fatigues, grenades and weapons to members of the Interahamwe militias. At times, he wore military fatigues himself, as he ‘worked.’
Some of the known victims of Ahorugeze’s killing spree, in the Gikondo area during the Genocide, include members of one family.
They include; Jean Babtiste Mayi, Leocadie Kankindi, Devota Ingabire, Jacqueline Mukeshimana, Appolinaire Bisanakayonga Emmanuel Habimana, Antoinette Nyirandegeya and Mupenzi.