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Rwanda’s ambassador to Netherlands, Olivier Nduhungirehe has condemned countries intending to teach Rwanda how to model values of democracy and respect human rights yet they have kept deaf ears to bring to book genocide fugitives loitering freely.
He made the criticism on Saturday 30th January 2021 during a talk show with One Nation Radio.
The Government of Rwanda has recently denounced claims by the United Kingdom (UK) which cited gaps in respecting human rights and put forward recommendations to improve human rights in the areas of rule of law urging the country to bring to book masterminds behind extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances.
On 25th January 2021, the Minister of Justice and State Attorney General, Johnston Busingye presented Rwanda’s 3rd Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to the Human Rights Council.
Minister Busingye explained that Rwanda respected human rights principles in terms of freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of press; and freedom of association and of peaceful assembly.
He stated that the country has been efficiently implementing recommendations received in 2015.
Commenting on some organizations that have been accusing Rwanda of harassing opposition figures and journalists; Minister Busingye explained that it is untrue because Rwanda’s judiciary is independent and makes fair judgment.
After presenting the report; UK envoy to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland Julian Braithwaite said that Rwanda still need to implement some recommendations to improve human rights record.
“The United Kingdom welcomes Rwanda’s strong record on economic and social rights, and promotion of gender equality. We remain concerned, however, by continued restrictions to civil and political rights and media freedom. As a member of the Commonwealth, and future Chair-in-Office, we urge Rwanda to model Commonwealth values of democracy, rule of law, and respect for human rights,” he said.
Julian Braithwaite also recommended Rwanda to: ‘Conduct transparent, credible and independent investigations into allegations of extrajudicial killings, deaths in custody, enforced disappearances and torture, and bring perpetrators to justice’.
Among others, he urged Rwanda to ‘Protect and enable journalists to work freely, without fear of retribution, and ensure that state authorities comply with the Access to Information law. Screen, identify and provide support to trafficking victims, including those held in Government transit centres’.
In response to these comments, Rwanda’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland said that these recommendations are unfounded.
As he featured in a talk show with One Nation Radio, Nduhungirehe explained that genocide perpetrators continue to spread genocide which pushes for the need to arrest and bring them to book.
“Apprehending suspects of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi is a good gesture to render justice. However, it is better to fight against genocide trivialization, denial and ideology spread among children and others by perpetrators who fled to different parts of the world,” he said.
“The genocide ideology has been increasingly spread within the past 27 years because of impunity culture and failure to arrest perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi loitering freely,” added Amb. Nduhungirehe.
He also condemned countries with relenting efforts to bring genocide perpetrators to face justice but rather spend their time to teach Rwanda how to respect democracy and human rights.
“It is astonishing that some countries educating Rwanda on democracy and human rights didn’t take action. There countries which didn’t arrest or bring to book a single genocide fugitive despite the fact that they have a list of such individuals sent by the Government of Rwanda,” noted Nduhungirehe.
He observed that bringing to book genocide suspects is the first step to respecting human rights.
“Genocide is the worst crime, this means, fighting against the crime, arresting perpetrators who are wandering freely and spreading genocide ideology in these countries, is the first step towards striving for human rights. It is crucial that these Governments understand the need to work with us to render justice, fight against revisionism and denial of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi,” stressed Nduhungirehe.
Nduhungirehe explained that Rwanda, Netherlands currently enjoy cordial relations as a country that has been helping Rwanda to arrest and bring to book genocide fugitives.
“After the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Netherlands helped Rwanda through non-governmental organizations established in Rwanda. It also opened embassy in Rwanda in 1995 and started cooperation in different areas […] they have provided great support in justice,” he said.
Apart from helping Rwanda to set up infrastructure in judicial sector, Nduhungirehe highlighted that Netherlands has been bringing genocide fugitives to book.
“Netherlands has so far tried two Rwandan genocide fugitives. These include Joseph Mpambara handed life sentence in 2011 and Yvonne Basebya handed 6 years and eight months sentence in 2013. Two more Rwandans including Jean Baptiste Mugimba and Jean Claude Iyamuremye alias Nzinga were deported to Rwanda as the process is underway to extradite more suspects namely; Charles Ndereyehe suspected to have perpetrated genocide in Huye and Venant Rutunga,”he said.
“There are nine more fugitives loitering freely. We continue to collaborate with Netherlands so that they can be arrested and deported to face justice in Rwanda,” added Nduhungirehe.