Editorial: Rwanda enraged by war crimes charges
2015-07-01 15:26:12 -
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Allegations by African leaders that western powers are using the United Nations War Crime Tribunal to target them in a ‘witch hunt’ recently came to the fore following the arrest of Rwanda’s intelligence chief.

 

British police arrested Gen Karenzi Karake, 54, at Heathrow Airport on Saturday 20 June on behalf of the Spanish authorities who accuse him of ordering the killing of thousands of people during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

 

One of 40 current or former prominent Rwandan military officials charged for war crimes by a Spanish court seven years ago, Gen Karake is wanted in particular for his alleged role in the murder of three Spanish nationals working for NGO Medicos del Mundo.

 

British Prime Minister David Cameron played down on the arrest of the spy chief, while the British High Commission in Rwanda also stressed that it was only a “legal obligation” on behalf of its European counterpart, adding that it had a “close relationship” with the Rwandan leaders.

 

Rwandan authorities have not only denied the war crimes charges against Gen Karake and others but are also outraged about the arrest of such a high-profile figure, a top member of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

 

The arrest was also criticised by the UK’s former international development secretary Andrew Mitchell, who said it is “being used by supporters of the genocidal regime against those who stopped the genocide.” He also branded as “reprehensible” that the arrest warrant is being “abused” by Spanish investigative judge Fernando Andreu Merelles, whose actions have the support of Human Rights Watch.

 

Despite this, Metro Éireann believes it is very doubtful if Gen Karake, who also served as deputy commander of Rwanda’s first UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur, would get a free and fair trial as a result of the controversy over this crusading war crimes charge. But we would support a non-partisan and unbiased trial of Gen Karake and his co-accused as much as we would like to see that the activities of Judge Andreu Merelles are above board.

TAGS : Africa African leaders United Nations War Crime Tibunal NGO Rwandan Patriotic Front RPF
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