13 May 2006

Genocidaires in Suburbia

Today’s Guardian reports that Charles Munyaneza and Célestin Ugirashebuja who have been named by the Rwandan government in a list of the 100 most wanted suspects for the 1994 genocide are currently living freely in Britain. despite demands that they return home to stand trial.

Mr Munyaneza, who was also the subject of a Sunday Times report in January, currently lives in Bedford. He is accused of coordinating and taking part in a series of large-scale massacres in Gikongoro, southern Rwanda. Witnesses say he wore a military uniform, carried a gun, and paid daily visits to the roadblocks set up to catch and kill Tutsis, often using a loudspeaker to urge Hutus to kill their Tutsi neighbours. After a massacre of more than 50,000 Tutsis at a technical school near Gikongoro in April 1994 he is said to have rounded up survivors and lined up militiamen to kill them.Mr Munyaneza sought asylum in Britain under the name Muneza and was granted indefinite leave to remain in 2002.

Three months ago the Rwandan government issued an international warrant for his arrest, and called for him to be deported to stand trial. Sources in Whitehall said the international warrant had no power because the UK does not have an extradition treaty with Rwanda and police were under no obligation to visit the suspects.

These are extremely serious allegations and must be answered. Continued inaction on the government’s part (especially when they have the facility to try the men here under the provisions of the International Convention against Torture which was incorporated into English law in 1988) is an affront to justice and would invite comparison with the likes of Argentina and Syria which accepted Nazi fugitives with open arms after WWII.

A lot is written our press about the UK being a soft touch for bogus asylum seekers. While the vast majority is sheer drivel, allowing alleged genocidaires to go about their business unhindered is grist to that unpleasant mill.

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