The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) has strongly condemned the arrest of Rose Kabuye in Germany, calling the actions of the German Authorities a blatant abuse of the Principles of Universal Jurisdiction.
A statement released by the ICGLR Secretariat on Tuesday says that the arrest of Kabuye, the Chief of State Protocol, in Frankfurt on November 9 on the basis of a 2006 arrest warrants issued by French Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere, sets a wrong precedence which might allow any individual judge to take inappropriate action, a scenario which could lead to unending squabbles and fuel conflicts between states.
“The Conference Secretariat of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) condemns the arrest on 9th November 2008 of Madam Rose Kabuye, a Rwandan high-ranking official and Chief of Protocol in the Rwandan government following the arrest warrant issued by a French Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière in November 2006… The ICGLR considers that the arrest of Madam Rose Kabuye is a blatant abuse of the Principles of Universal Jurisdiction,” part of the statement reads.
The ICGLR, a regional body which brings together 11 countries from the Great Lakes Region including Rwanda further says that the arrest of Kabuye reflects on some of the concerns raised by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Member States of the ICGLR in a meeting which was held on May 22, 2008 in Brazzaville, Congo.
At the meeting, member countries expressed great concern that the abuse of the principles of universal jurisdiction was a blatant affront to the sovereignty of the member states of the ICGLR and other African countries in general.
The Conference notes that during the African Union Summit held in July 2008, the Heads of State and Government of the African Union directed the African Commission to work together with the European Union Commission and the United Nations in order to jointly address the matter.
Among other things, it was also suggested that a joint AU-EU Committee should be formed to seriously examine the issue in order to avoid the abuse of the principles as well the non respect of the sovereignty of the African countries.
However, according to the ICGLR, such actions by Germany and France show how the sovereignty of African states is still threatened even before these consultations are complete.
“It is with much regret that the arrest has taken place before the consultations have reached a conclusion. Furthermore, the decision would have a negative impact on the relations between African countries and the European Union,” the statements further reads.
The ICGLR has also called upon the European Union to review its position until the joint African Union-European Union committee on the issue of universal jurisdiction comes up with a mutually comprehensive and acceptable solution.
“The Conference Secretariat of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) wishes to express its support and solidarity to the people and government of Rwanda in the endeavors to ensure that the principles of universal jurisdiction are respected and that justice is done in a fair and balanced manner,” concludes the statement.