Annual Report: Rwanda 2010

Report
May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Rwanda 2010

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Universal jurisdiction - Genocide suspects living abroad

Judicial proceedings against genocide suspects took place in many countries including Belgium, Canada, Finland and the USA. Extradition hearings against genocide suspects continued in Finland, Sweden and the UK. No country extradited genocide suspects to Rwanda for trial.

Due to concerns over the protection of defence witnesses and fears of executive interference with the judiciary, a UK High Court ruling overturned the UK's initial decision to extradite to Rwanda four Rwandans wanted on genocide charges. Finland ruled against extradition, deciding instead to try François Bazaramba under universal jurisdiction (see Finland entry). The court travelled to Rwanda to hear evidence from prosecution witnesses. Sweden was the first country to rule in favour of extradition, but Sylvère Ahorugeze's extradition was halted pending an appeal at the European Court of Human Rights.

The Rwandan government reported that it had over 500 genocide suspects under investigation around the world. It also stated that some African countries had not co-operated with its investigations.

Impunity

War crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the RPF and the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) before, during and after the genocide were not prosecuted. There were no new criminal investigations or prosecutions initiated against former RPA fighters accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. The ICTR did not issue indictments against any RPF commanders implicated in such abuses. Neither did the ICTR recall the RPF file that was transferred to the government of Rwanda, resulting in the prosecution of two junior commanders. This was despite concerns that the trial, whose verdict was pronounced in October 2008, fell short of international fair trial standards and that those who directed the killings were not prosecuted.

Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people

In late December, the lower house of the Rwandan parliament rejected an amendment to the Penal Code, which would have criminalized same-sex relations and their promotion. Following significant pressure from Rwandan civil society and the diplomatic community, the Minister of Justice issued a public statement stating that homosexuality would not be criminalized, as sexual orientation was a private matter.

Refugees and asylum-seekers

The deadline for voluntary repatriation of Rwandan refugees from Uganda lapsed. This followed concerns raised that repatriation may not have been voluntary given that Uganda's assistance to Rwandan refugees was due to cease after 31 July, according to the voluntary repatriation agreement signed between the Rwandan government, the Ugandan government and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on 22 April. Some refugees reported that they were stopped from cultivating their land. The ending of such assistance may have forced refugees who continued to have a well-founded fear of persecution in Rwanda to return there.

Amnesty International visits/report

Amnesty International delegates visited Rwanda in September and October.

Finland: Universal jurisdiction put into practice against suspect in Rwandan genocide (28 August 2009)