The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, yesterday said that the freezing, on November 3, of bank accounts belonging to the Belgian Embassy, was done on the principle of reciprocity.
Mushikiwabo said that the Belgian government violated the Vienna Conventions and international laws when it failed to protect Rwanda’s property, including its embassy in Brussels.
“Belgium was obliged by international law to protect our property, they didn’t do it,” the minister told The New Times.
“Ours is a reciprocal action and we hope and expect Belgium to honour its international obligations, soon”.
Article 22 of the Vienna Convention reads in part: “the host country must protect the (Diplomatic) Mission from intrusion or damage. The host country must never search the premises, nor seize its documents or property.”
On October 20, a Belgian court ordered the freezing of Rwanda’s assets, including the embassy accounts, in violation of diplomatic inviolability.
The court was acting on the basis of a lawsuit filed by a Rwandan national, Gaspard Gatera, who claimed that he was owed money by the Rwandan government, which the latter strongly contests.