Genocide fugitives

Genocide suspect referred to Dutch court, faces extradition

Visitors at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre. Many suspects are still roaming Western countries. The New Times/File

A 37-year-old man was on Tuesday referred to a Dutch court for a hearing that will determine whether he will be extradited to face trial for his role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

A statement from Dutch prosecutors said Jean-Claude Iyamuremye was arrested on an extradition request filed by the Rwandan prosecution.

Iyamuremye, a.k.a, Nzenga, is accused of being part of the militiamen who attacked and killed Tutsis who had sought asylum at the former ETO-Kicukiro, after they were abandoned by UN forces. The victims are said to have made the widely known “way of cross” trekking to Nyanza hill, where they were killed.

According to the indictment, Iyamuremye is accused of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture.

Dutch prosecutors said it was important that Iyamuremye is tried where he is accused of committing the crime.

“This is where the evidence is, where legal professionals are best acquainted with the language, culture and backgrounds of the events and where usually most victims and relatives reside,” reads the statement.

The extradition request will be examined next week by the Court of First Instance in The Hague.

Reason of hope

In Kigali, the National Public Prosecutions Authority spokesperson said it is too early to comment on the case.

However, a Genocide survivor living in the Netherlands said the proceeding was a sign of hope.

Among the cases tried in the Netherlands include that of Yvonne Basebya, who was earlier this year sentenced to six years for inciting genocide.

Also,  in 2009, a Dutch court sentenced Joseph Mpambara to 20 years for his role in the 1994 Genocide. He appealed and, in July 2011, the higher court sentenced him to life in prison for war crimes committed in Rwanda in 1994.

The most important message, sources in the Netherlands said, is that the kingdom no longer wants to be a haven for suspected genocidaires.

Ibuka Executive Secretary Naphtal Ahishakiye welcomed the momentum in the Netherlands, saying it should be emulated by other European countries harbouring Genocide suspects.

Ibuka is the umbrella organisation for Genocide survivors.

“Ibuka is encouraged and happy about the noticeable effort in the Netherlands to bring to book the people who are responsible for the deaths of a million of innocent lives,” Ahishakiye said.

“Also laudable is the fact the Dutch have recognised that Rwanda’s justice system is fair and efficient. We thank them and urge them to continue in their current path.”

First Appeared in the New times

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