Rwanda: Kwibuka 25 - UK Called on to Extradite Genocide Fugitives

A renewed call has been made to authorities in the United Kingdom to arrest and extradite fugitives accused of committing the Genocide against the Tutsi, who still roam freely in the European country.

This call was made during series of events organised both in London and Scotland to mark the 25th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi.

Directors from Arsenal FC attended the Kwibuka25 commemoration in London

The events were held last week, with the one in Scotland being held this past weekend.

Activities included an Urgent Questions session in the UK Parliament on the issue of extradition of genocide suspects living in the UK raised by the Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell and over a dozen Members of Parliament.

Front Centre - Mr John Dick, Honorary Consul for Rwanda to the Government of Jersey

The legislators, according to a statement from the Rwandan High Commission in the UK, asked the British Minister for the Home Office why their Government is not taking the necessary action.

Several fugitives, including five indicted key fugitives responsible for the Genocide committed against the Tutsi, remain scot-free in UK, 25 years after the Genocide.

Genocide Survivior, Marie-Rose Rurangirwa delivers her testimony at Kwibuka25 London

The five have on several occasions been arrested over the indictments issued by Rwanda National Prosecutions Authority (NPPA), but have always been released with no charge.

Rwanda has always maintained that if they cannot be extradited, they should at least be tried in UK but none of these options has been pursued by their British counterparts.

Linda Melvern delivers an expert talk

During the event, the High Commissioner to UK, Yamina Karitanyi, called on leaders to "take responsibility" and to respond, adding that "Rwanda can only win this fight by having more partners willing to walk this journey with us."

Investigative Journalist and author Linda Melvern, who attended the commemoration in London, called for necessary denial of the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi, underscoring its ills.

Lord Mayor of Westminster (front centre) and audience of 600+ at Kwibuka25 in London

"Denial (of the Genocide) denies the dignity of victims that we mourn today, and mocks those that survived," she said during the event that brought together over 600 mourners.

Speaking on behalf of the UK Government, Lord Bates, the UK Minister of State at the Department for International Development, said that the atrocities of the past must not define Rwanda.

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He commended the values of tolerance and unity that have spurred Rwanda's healing and transformation calling them "a model for the world", adding that the people of the United Kingdom stand with Rwanda.

In an emotional testimony, Marie-Rose Rurangirwa, a Genocide survivor, told guests that her horrific memories of 25 years ago "are still vivid", and urged the guests in their respective positions of influence and power, to educate the world to ensure that what happened in Rwanda 25 years ago does not repeat itself in Rwanda or anywhere else in the world.

High Commissioner Yamina Karitanyi speaks at the Rwanda Conference on Kwibuka25 at Jack Hunt School in Peterborough UK

Elsewhere in UK, Rwandans and Friends of Rwanda also last week met in Portsmouth, the first time a commemoration event had been held in that part of the country due to the small number of Rwandans living there.

This event was graced by among others the Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Lee Mason, MP for Portsmouth, Stephen James Morgan, and council officials and authorities including the local Police, who all expressed their solidarity with the people of Rwanda.

Commemorative activities will continue to be marked in the UK and Ireland with a conference at the Houses of Parliament and further events in London, Brighton, Nottingham, Plymouth and Dublin, according to the High Commission.

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