Rwanda leader accuses West of leniency for genocide suspects
Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Saturday accused unspecifiedWestern countries of failing to stop genocide suspects on their territory as his country marked the 18th anniversary of a Tutsi massacre.
“As we remember those we lost, some of those who killed them are still moving freely in some capitals of the so-called free world,” said Kagame.
“There is little effort to apprehend them and when this happens, it is a token meant to blind us and give us the impression that they are doing justice.
“They are released shortly after. Yet when acts of terrorism are committed against their people, the whole world is mobilized, in fact sometimes forced to join in the research of those criminals so that they can be brought to justice.”
A French court last week for the first time agreed that a suspect should be extradited to Rwanda to face charges of genocide.
The court ruling followed an international arrest warrant issued in December for Claude Muhayimana, a French-Rwandan dual national who is accused of taking part in genocide and crimes against humanity.
The extradition can only go ahead if the French government gives its accord, and France has never allowed its nationals to be extradited.
France has previously extradited Rwandan citizens to Tanzania to face trial at the International Criminal Tribunal (ICTR) for Rwanda but has never sent anyone to Rwanda itself for trial over the 1994 genocide.
Western countries and the ICTR had long hesitated to transfer indicted genocide suspects living abroad or detainees to Rwanda’s national jurisdiction, fearing they would be denied a fair trial.
But Kagame, who spoke in English and in the country’s principal local language, said, “It would appear that Rwandan lives, or similarly, lives of Africans, are less valued than the lives of their citizens.
“It is hypocrisy, injustice that we Africans have had to confront for a long time and that we must reject by all means.”
Perpetrated by ethnic Hutu extremists the April-July 1994 genocide left nearly 800,000 people dead, according to the United Nations.
French investigative magistrates met with Rwanda’s prosecutor general, Martin Ngoga, earlier this week after he threatened to suspend all cooperation with France.
Rwanda says the differences have been cleared and French investigators are now free to pursue their work in Rwanda.