The National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) is not happy with the ruling by the Danish Appeals Court, dismissing the case against a Rwandan Genocide suspect.
The Copenhagen court on Monday ruled that Denmark’s law on Genocide cannot be used to proffer Genocide charges against the Rwandan suspect, who was arrested in the Nordic country over allegations that he participated in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The man’s identity has remained anonymous since his arrest in 2010, for what Danish police said could jeopardise investigations.
According to reports from Denmark, the dismissal of the case implies that the suspect would remain in custody but would only be charged with ‘subsidiary murder.’
Reacting to the verdict, yesterday, John Bosco Siboyintore, the head of the Genocide Fugitives Tracking Unit (GFTU) at NPPA, said that the dismissal of the case was a major legal challenge.
“We are definitely not satisfied by the fact that this fugitive is going to be charged under murder. Murder is murder, in most countries this is an ordinary crime,” he asserted.
“The circumstance under which the crime of murder is committed differs totally with the definition and circumstances surrounding that of Genocide”.
Siboyintore stated that where a country lacks the Genocide law, then it should surrender the suspect to a country that has it in its jurisdiction.
“Our next step is to talk with the Danish prosecutors with an aim of requesting for his extradition to Rwanda, to serve the life sentence that was handed to him in absentia by a Gacaca court,” he said.
He however hastened to add that the case is still under investigation.
“Danish investigators were here last week conducting complementary investigations, and this is why at this moment, I will not mention the name of the suspect, to avoid jeopardising their investigations.”
Dr Jean-Pierre Dusingizemungu, the president of IBUKA, the umbrella body of Genocide survivors, said that countries that do not have a law punishing Genocide committed in a foreign country, should consider having it because this is the mother of all crimes.
“We are not satisfied with the ruling. Charging the genocide suspect with murder will not help us. The crime he committed is heavier than that, they should instead send him back to Rwanda to serve his sentence,” he said.
The suspect is accused of killing an unknown number of people after throwing grenades into a crowd of desperate refugees as they tried to flee Kabuye Hill, in the Southern Province, where up to 20,000 Tutsis were murdered.
Jean de Dieu Mucyo, the Executive Secretary of National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), also suggested that adoption of universal legal provisions that apply to Genocide committed beyond their borders should be considered by countries that do not have such laws.
“We cannot change their law on Genocide, but charging him with murder will attract a weak punishment compared to the crimes he committed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi,” he said.
The suspect arrived in Denmark in 2001 where he stayed until his arrest in late 2010.The Gacaca court handed him a life sentence in his absence in 2008.