The High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division Administrative Court denied extradition of five Rwandans, respondents over genocide crimes. These are Dr Vincent Bajinya, Charles Munyaneza, Emmanuel Nteziryayo, Célestin Ugirashebuja et Célestin Mutabaruka. The court assumes a risk of a flagrant denial of justice for these men if returned to Rwanda, where the system is such an innocent men might be wrongly convicted.
“Our reasoning is fully set out in the judgment. Our concerns focus on the political pressures on the judicial system, the independence of the judges, the difficulties and fears of witnesses and particularly the capacity of defendants to allegations of genocide to obtain and present evidence and be adequately represented in their defence”, says the judges.
That judgment is based on a detailed examination of extensive evidence, some of it having emerged since the proceedings before the Senior District Judge.
We do not attempt to summarise it here, since the picture might be over-simplified or reduced to generalisations.
Who are they? What are their accusations
Dr Vincent Bajinya, was a close friend to former president Habyarimana, and member of MRND, before CDR coming up. Both parties were made by Hutu extremists, who made the genocide possible against Tutsis in 1994. Bajinya would have been seen in Nyamirambo stadium, during a meeting aimed at calling hutus to take distance from Tutsis.
Among other accusations over Bajinya, include the roadbrocker establishment in Rugenge/Kigali, where he killed Dominique, Leandre, Charlotte Kamujaga wihe her baby kid. An another roadbrocker was established in northern-west, near Kibihekane school (a few meters from Habyarimana’s home village).
Charles Munyaneza, is former Mayor of Kinyamakara commune in Gikongoro (now southern province). He is accused of organising meetings, mobilising people to make genocide against Tutsis, road brockers establishment and other crimes against humanity.
Emmanuel Nteziryayo is also former Mayor in Gikongoro, Mudasomwa commune. He has the same accusations as Munyaneza, but also distributed guns to population and hiding killed Tutsis bodies.
About Célestin Ugirashebuja, he was a Mayor of Kigoma commune in south, while Célestin Mutabaruka, was a forestry project manager named Crète Zaïre-Nil west. They are accused of the same crimes.
The judges conclude no extradition
In a Press Summary to accompany judgment, judges Lord Justice Irwin and Mr Justice Foskett clarifies the summary is provided to assist in understanding the Court’s decision, but saying it does not form part of the reasons for the decision, as the full judgment of the Court is the only authoritative document.
They say, “In relation to two of the men (Mutabaruka and Nteziryayo), we have concluded they should not in any event be returned.
They have each been the subject of earlier criminal proceedings in their absence in Rwanda, conducted Gacaca courts (traditional and transitional justice, set up under Rwandan law, conducted with no professional judges or lawyers, and limited formality or procedural regularity.
Their return would breach the principle of double jeopardy or would represent an abuse of process, for the reasons set out in the judgment.
In respect of the other three men (Brown/Bajinya, Munyaneza and Ugirashebuja) we have concluded the Government of Rwanda should have a final opportunity to give firm and reliable undertakings to put in place conditions which would reduce the risk of unfair trial, so that they may lawfully be returned.
We have done so for the reasons set out in paragraph 3 above: it is highly desirable that trial for these crimes should take place in Rwanda. Unless conditions are put in place which satisfy us, they will not be returned.
If they are not returned to Rwanda, these three can still be tried here, provided the Government of Rwanda cooperates. If their guilt is established, that means there will be no impunity for those guilty of genocide. If they are innocent, their innocence will be established.
In the event that there is no extradition, whether a trial takes place here is also in the hands of the Government of Rwanda”.
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Jean Baptiste Karegeya
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