Swedish govt to make final decision on fate of Genocide suspect
STOCKHOLM - The Swedish High Court yesterday passed a verdict in favor of the prosecution and ordered the extradition of a Genocide suspect to Rwanda to stand trial.
Sylvere Ahorugeze, a fugitive suspected of taking part in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi was arrested in July last year in the Swedish capital Stockholm.
When contacted, the Rwandan Ambassador to Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland) confirmed the verdict saying that the ruling was passed in Stockholm early yesterday.
“Prosecutors here requested that he be extradited for trial in the country where the crime was committed,” said Ambassador Jacqueline Mukangira in a telephone interview with The New Times from Stockholm.
Ahurugeze is a former director of the current Civil Aviation Authority and is accused of orchestrating killings in Gikondo, a Kigali suburb. She said that the decision would not be appealed against in any court in that country since this is the highest jurisdiction.
According to news agencies, the verdict said that there were no legal obstacles preventing the accused to be extradited to Rwanda for trial.
However, sources from the judiciary here say that the final decision as to whether to extradite him or not lies in the hands of political leaders.
The spokesperson of the National Public Prosecutions Authority (NPPA), Augustin Nkusi, in an interview, said that this was a positive development that should be emulated by many other countries that still harbor fugitives.
“We have always shown our cooperation with any country that offered to bring to book persons responsible for the 1994 Genocide and we shall continue doing so. What was done by the Swedish judiciary is commendable and we shall closely monitor any new development in the case,” said Nkusi over the phone.
Rwanda does not have an extradition treaty with Sweden; however, extradition can be facilitated through a bilateral arrangement between the two countries.
When contacted for details in Ahurugeze’s dossier, John Bosco Mutangana who heads the Genocide Fugitives Tracking Unit (GFTU) said that the accused openly carried a weapon and personally executed many people during the genocide.
The GFTU operates under the Office of the Prosecutor General and is charged with gathering evidence and preparing indictments of fugitives suspected participating in the Genocide.
“He was a strong partisan of MRND party right from 1991 until ‘94 and we handle him as a mastermind because of the position he held during this period,” said Mutangana, himself a prosecutor. He added that the Rwandan prosecution preferred extradition instead of having the suspect tried in Sweden.
Ahurugeze who had been on an Interpol Red Notice, was first arrested in Denmark but was released over what Danish judiciary said was ‘lack of incriminating evidence.’
He was later re-arrested at the Rwandan Embassy in Stockholm where he had gone to secure travel documents for his wife. He has since his arrest last July been in custody in the Swedish city.