Arusha — Rwanda has requested the government of Zambia to extradite six people suspected of taking key role in the 1994 genocide, according to Times of Zambia, a national daily newspaper.
The newspaper reported on Saturday that such Rwandan request was revealed during a Parliamentary session on Friday when the August House was told that there were 6,340 Rwandans residents living in the Southern African country.
But the country's Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Effron Lungu was reported as saying that "the Extradition Act, Chapter 94 of the Laws of Zambia could only allow extradition of fugitives if there was an agreement on reciprocal basis."
"Mr Speaker, the said fugitives can only be handed over when the two countries negotiate and sign an agreement on reciprocal basis to deal with the extradition in accordance with the Extradition Act Chapter 94 of the Laws of Zambia," the newspaper quoted Lungu as saying.
The deputy minister was responding to a query by one of legislators, who had wanted to know, among others, how many Rwandans were residing in the country and how many among them were suspected of the 1994 genocide.
Reacting to the minister's remarks, Rwandan Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga, said that such response was "simplistic" as it does not consider the gravity of crimes committed.
"This is a very simplistic response that does not take into account the gravity of the crime these suspects stand accused of," The New Times, a Rwandan daily newspaper, quoted him on Monday as saying.
Ngoga said he was not disputing what the minister said on the requirement under Zambian law but the fact was all efforts made to move the procedure forward have not been given due attention.
"The absence of reciprocal agreement is something that can be addressed in a very short time if authorities in Zambia were willing to move forward," the newspaper quoted the prosecutor general's remarks.
Ngoga further reportedly said that "in any event, based on this response by the Minister to the Parliament, we shall make fresh communication and see if there can be new momentum."