Dutch court halts extradition of Rwandan genocide suspects

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda is a fierce critic of the West particularly on it's hesitancy to extradite "criminals" to face justice

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda is a fierce critic of the West particularly on it’s hesitancy to extradite “criminals” to face justice

A Dutch court on Saturday withheld the decision to have two Rwandan genocide suspects extradited to Rwanda to face genocide charges, a move that may strain relations between Rwanda and the Netherlands.

The Dutch court ruled that the two defendants will be tried in the Netherlands, citing lack of a fair and impartial judicial system in Rwanda. The decision overturns the earlier ruling endorsing the transfer of both suspects to Rwanda to face charges.

Jean-Baptiste Mugimba 56, and Jean Claude Iyamuremye 38 were arrested separately in 2013 and 2014 in the Netherlands. They are accused of various counts of crimes against humanity and genocide committed in Rwanda in 1994.

The two are among other wanted suspected believed to be hiding in the European country.
Members of Parliament of the Kingdom of Netherlands who visited Rwanda in August had said they would push for extradition of Genocide fugitives.

Sharon Gesthuizen, a Dutch member of parliament, who was part of the visiting team, said that this would be done in the near future, though there was no set time line.

“The decision should not be rushed, it may take time but it is important to see that we make the right decisions” Gesthuizen said in August.

Dutch courts have in the past tried and sentenced Genocide suspects including; Yvonne Basebya, who was in 2014 sentenced to six years for inciting Genocide against the Tutsi a, Joseph Mpambara who was sentenced to 20 years in 2009.

According to Rwandan authorities, Mugimba and Iyamuremye are accused of conspiracy to commit genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, murder and extermination as crimes against humanity.

President Paul Kagame has visited Netherlands several times this year and during the recent Rwanda Day gathering in Amsterdam, Kagame called on Rwandan fugitives to consider returning home voluntarily.

The Rwandan leader has on several occasions lambasted the West for harbouring Genocide suspects and shielding fugitives from justice.

Countries like Denmark, US and Canada have extradited suspects to Rwanda but Kigali would want all countries hosting genocide suspects and “criminals” to hand them over for prosecution.