The Hague Court of First Instance has delivered a judgment today allowing the extradition of the 38 year old Jean-Claude I. to Rwanda. It is the first time a Dutch Court rules on the extradition of a Rwandan Genocide-suspect.
The Rwandan Authorities have asked the Netherlands National Prosecutor's Office for the extradition of Jean-Claude I. earlier this year. He is suspected of Genocide, War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity and Torture. The extradition-request is based on information from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and from Rwanda itself.
I. allegedly took part in attacks on Tutsis as a leader of an Interahamwe militia during the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. Tutsis 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.
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. Other States, such as Norway, Sweden and Denmark, as well as the ICTR, have already allowed the extradition of Genocide suspects to Rwanda. In October 2011, the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that the extradition of a Genocide suspect to Rwanda by Sweden did not violate his human rights. The Court found that the suspect's rights to a fair trial and his right to human treatment would not be violated by extraditing him. In 2013, the ECHR affirmed this earlier ruling, by dismissing complaints in relation to the Norwegian and Danish extradition cases.The Hague Court of First Instance ruled today that there are no grounds refuse the execution of the extradition request.
I. had argued that his political beliefs and his political activities are the reason for his prosecution in Rwanda. The Court decided that there are no reasons to find that statement plausible.