Arusha — A court in Copenhagen on Monday upheld the Danish government's decision to extradite a Rwandan suspected of participating in the 1994 genocide. The suspect, Emmanuel Mbarushimana, immediately lodged an appeal.
Mbarushimana, 50, was a school inspector in Butare prefecture, southern Rwanda, during the genocide, according to the Rwandan Prosecutor's office.
The decision to extradite him was taken last June by the Danish Justice Minister. Mbarushimana, who has been living in Denmark for 12 years, mounted an immediate legal challenge, arguing that he would not get a fair trial in Rwanda and might be tortured and persecuted.
On Monday, the court in Roskilde, western Copenhagen, concluded that these risks had not been demonstrated. Mbarushimana and his lawyer immediately said they would appeal.
Kigali asked Copenhagen in 2008 to extradite the suspect or to prosecute him. The Danish authorities decided to start judicial proceedings against him, but then found their legislation did not provide for prosecution for genocide. He was therefore indicted for murder. Danish legislation has since evolved, so that individuals can now be prosecuted for genocide, even if the crimes were committed outside Denmark. However, the new legislation is not retroactive.
Mbarushimana's appeal is expected to be heard in February/ March. His murder trial has been postponed to June 2013, but will depend on the result of the appeal.