30 January 2013

Rwanda: Renewed Requests to Extradite Ahorugeze

Rwanda intends to file a fresh plea to the Grand Chamber of European Court of Human Right to have Genocide suspect Sylvere Ahorugeze extradited. The court last year rejected an appeal by Ahorugeze, who was challenging a Swedish court's decision to extradite him.

Alleged to have played a key role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi that left more than a million people dead, Ahorugeze was arrested in 2008 in Sweden as he tried to renew his family's passports at the Rwandan embassy. He is particularly suspected of being responsible for the murders of about 30 families.

Ahorugeze's extradition was initiated by Sweden, but after being held in custody for three years, the Supreme Court ruled that there was no reason to detain him while the decision from Europe was taking time. Following his release, he returned to his abode in Denmark.

But in October 2011, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that it was in order for Sweden to authorise his extradition. The decision was challenged at the highest authority, the Grand Chamber, which also decided not to review the case.

However, since Ahorugeze resides in Denmark-a country he stayed in before and turned down Rwanda's request to extradite him - the Rwandan authorities would be turning to the Danish judicial system if they want Ahorugeze extradited. The Danes have so far been unwilling to cooporate.

"We shall instruct our lawyers in Europe to seek fresh orders from the European Court of Human Rights to compel Denmark to comply with and extradite Ahorugeze," Prosecutor-General Martin Ngoga told The New Times yesterday.

Rwanda has for long blamed Western countries, including France, for intentionally and deliberately refusing to extradite Genocide suspects.

"We may not succeed with actual apprehension of some of these fugitives who are enjoying themselves in Europe, but we shall succeed in pushing European politicians to a point where they can not disguise. They either respect or disregard their own judiciary," Ngoga said.

Ahorugeze is also accused of participating in the killing of hundreds of Tutsis, especially in Gikondo, a Kigali City suburb.

Born in 1956, Ahorugeze served as Director of the Rwandan Civil Aviation Authority and Kigali International Airport in 1994.

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