29 June 2013

Rwanda: Fifth Genocide Suspect Denied Bail in UK

The Westminster Magistrate court in London has turned down a bail application by Celestin Mutabaruka, a Genocide suspect who was arrested early this month.

Mutabaruka was by the time of his arrest a Pastor of a community church in Ashford, London. He was arrested at his home on June 5.

The move came as part of a coordinated series of arrests that saw four other Rwandan men in London, Bedford, Manchester and Essex simultaneously picked up on behalf of the capital's police force.

The other suspects include Emmanuel Nteziryayo, Charles Munyaneza and Celestin Ugirashebuja who were all mayors during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and are accused of organising the massacres.

The fifth man, Vincent Bajinya, who was a medical doctor in Kigali, is accused of inciting genocide during meetings at his house and organising roadblocks where Tutsis were killed.

The latter four had applied for bail immediately but their applications were rejected by the court.

"In his bail application, Mutabaruka had staked ₤65,000 (Rwf65 million) for bail and argued that he has a family and an address in UK but the court turned down the application on grounds that he is accused of committing serious crimes so he deserved no bail," Jean Bosco Siboyintore, the head of Genocide Fugitive Tracking Unit, told Saturday Times yesterday.

In the case of Mutabaruka, the court is scheduled to re-convene on July 9, for the case hearing management while the trial in substance is expected in October.

During the Genocide, Mutabaruka headed a project called Crete Zaire Nil

The president of the umbrella association of Genocide survivors' organisation, Ibuka, Dr. Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu welcomed the development.

"All this indicates that the world is increasingly responding to our plea fro justice, people out there should know that masquerading as a religious leader does not exempt anyone from being prosecuted. We are happy with the way the UK is handling these cases, but this is just the beginning, there is a lot that needs to be done by Western countries," he said.

The Executive Secretary of the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), Jean de Dieu Mucyo, also pointed out that the international community is showing a good gesture with regards to Genocide suspects.

"I highly commend the UK for what they have been doing lately, it's a good gesture as well, but we can't just commend those that are doing the right thing without pointing out that there are some countries that are yet to take this issue seriously," said Mucyo.

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