The Netherlands Blocks Deportation Of Genocide Suspects
The Netherlands has blocked extradition of two Rwandan genocide suspects Jean Baptiste Mugimba and Jean Claude Iyamuremye.
A Dutch court in The Hague ruled Friday that the two suspects would not get a fair trial in the Rwandan courts.
The verdict states “in cases of genocide in Rwanda,Â legal assistance in practice is insufficiently insured.Â As long as the Dutch authorities cannot prove the contrary, the two cannot be transferred to Rwanda.”
Iyamuremye and Mugimba, had appealed against their extradition. As a reason they stated that they are afraid of an unfair trial in Rwanda.
Rwanda had requested The Netherlands to handover Mugimba 56 and Iyamuremye 38, to account for their role in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis that claimed over a million lives.
Iyamuremye is accused of involvement in the massacre of Tutsi that were hiding at former Ecole Technique Officielle in April 1994.
However, his lawyer Bart Stapert told court the accusation rests solely on an anonymous testimony. Iyamuremye has been living the Netherlands since 2003.
Iyamuremye was arrested in July 2013 at Voorburg, Netherlands. He pleaded innocent.
“Judges are not independent in Rwanda, witnesses are put under pressure and lawyers are not able to withstand the political pressure,” Stapert emphasized earlier. “Extradition is then equivalent to a life sentence.â€
Stapert said that political opponents of the Rwandan government frequently disappear or “on dubious groundsâ€ are imprisoned for a long time. “This is also done with Victoire Ingabire, who lived in the Netherlands for a long time.â€
Mugimba was arrested in the Dutch municipality, Leusden, in January 2014. Rwanda accuses him of; conspiracy to commit genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, murder and extermination as crimes against humanity.
Although Rwanda has massively transformed its justice system, Stapert says his clients cannot count on that. The judge agreed on that. He relies on a report of an expert based on “observations in practice.â€