Two Rwandan residents of the Netherlands, a 40 year-old from Voorburg and a 57 year-old from Leusden, will be extradited to Rwanda today. The extradition of Jean-Claude I. and Jean-Baptiste M. was requested by the Rwandan authorities for involvement in the 1994 Genocide.
The now 40 year-old Jean Claude I. is suspected by the Rwandan authorities of having participated in attacks on Tutsis during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide as a leader of the so-called ‘Interahamwe’ militia. The victims were hunted down, chased from their homes and taken away to places where they were killed on a massive scale. Several people were buried alive. The houses of the victims were set on fire. One of the attacks took place on the grounds of the Technical School in the capital Kigali, the École Technique Officielle (ETO). Armed groups stormed the ETO grounds on 11 April 1994 and killed thousands of people.
On 25 September 2013, the Rwandan authorities requested the extradition of I. from The Netherlands.
The Rwandan authorities requested the extradition of Jean-Baptiste M. on 22 November 2012. M. is suspected of Genocide and other crimes. As political leader of an extremist Hutu party, he was allegedly involved in compiling death-lists supplying weapons and attacking Tutsis in 1994 in and around Kigali. M. was arrested in The Netherlands in January 2014.
He came to the Netherlands in 1999, where he was reunited with his family, that was already residing in The Netherlands. M. received a regular residence permit in 2007, which was revoked in June 2013 on the basis of Article 1F of the Refugee Convention because the Immigration Service concluded that there were serious reasons for considering that M. had been involved in the Rwandan Genocide.
Both Rwandans have challenged their extradition in Court. They submitted, amongst other things, that extradition to Rwanda would violate their right to a fair trial and that there is a real risk of inhuman treatment. The requests for extradition have been approved by the District Court of The Hague and the Supreme Court before the Minister of Security and Justice decided to allow extradition. In the proceedings following this decision, the Court of First Instance ruled that extradition to Rwanda would amount to a violation of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) because of a lack of capable Defence counsel in the Rwandan proceedings. The State filed an appeal against this decision. The Court of Appeals decided that there was no for foreseeable violation of the right to a fair trial (Article 6 ECHR) and quashed the decision of the Court of First Instance, thereby allowing the decision of the Minister to stand. The ruling of the Court of Appeals in now final.
In the 1994 extreme violence in Rwanda, approximately 500.000 to 1 million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed. Most of these killings were committed by two armed groups, the Interahamwe, the militia belonging to the governmental party MRND, and the Impuzamugambi of the extremist splinter-party CDR. These events have been qualified by the UN-Rwanda Tribunal as Genocide.
The Netherlands are fights impunity for International Crimes and does not want to be a safe haven for genocidairs. For this reason, the International Crimes Team of the Netherlands Police and The National Prosecutor’s Office are committed to tracking down and prosecuting those who have committed these crimes, even if this may take years.
Point of departure for the Netherlands Prosecutor's Office is that, if possible, the investigation and prosecution of International Crimes should take place in the State where the crimes were committed. 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. With these extraditions, The Netherlands fulfill human rights and treaty obligations that are central to the existence and maintenance of the international legal order. This is done to ensure that there is no impunity for the most serious crimes, including Genocide.
Other States, such as Norway and Sweden, as well as the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), have already allowed the extradition of Genocide suspects to Rwanda. In October 2011, the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that the extradition of a Genocide suspect to Rwanda by Sweden did not violate his human rights. The Court confirmed this ruling in 2013 by dismissing complaints against extradition to Rwanda by Norway and Denmark. Canada and the United States have expelled persons wanted for genocide to Rwanda.