Punishing Genocide crimes a collective responsibility

A recent decision by a Copenhagen court to dismiss a Genocide case against a Rwandan fugitive on the basis of inadequate domestic law is a huge setback for international justice. The man in question was tried in absentia in Rwanda and subsequently found guilty of committing Genocide crimes, according to court records. The convict headed a death squad and took part in massacres of more than 20,000 Tutsis.

A recent decision by a Copenhagen court to dismiss a Genocide case against a Rwandan fugitive on the basis of inadequate domestic law is a huge setback for international justice.

The man in question was tried in absentia in Rwanda and subsequently found guilty of committing Genocide crimes, according to court records.

The convict headed a death squad and took part in massacres of more than 20,000 Tutsis.

That Denmark is reluctant to prefer Genocide charges against a category I fugitive is baffling and a slap in the face of international justice.

Genocide is a crime against humanity and should be punished by all countries. And, in the event that a foreign jurisdiction is unwilling to try a Genocide suspect, they have a choice to extradite them to Rwanda for the law to take its due course.

The point is criminals should be held responsible for their actions, the location of the trial notwithstanding. It’s simply irresponsible and unacceptable for any jurisdiction to diminish the crime of Genocide by seeking to treat it as an ordinary case of murder, the way the Danish court is trying to do.

All suspects should stand trial for the crimes they committed, not anything less.

The only way any member of the United Nations can help Rwandans in their healing and reconciliation process is to ensure that perpetrators are brought to book.

Genocide is the most atrocious crime against humanity. There are laws that compel the international community, to do all within its powers to ensure that no perpetrator goes unpunished, wherever they may be.

The culture of impunity does not only undermine the spirit of universal justice, but also compromises efforts to make sure such crimes never happen again.

It’s time everyone took their international obligations seriously to help deliver justice.

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