Breaking news: Thursday 25 January 2024
UK counter-terrorism war crimes team arrested a 69 year-old Rwandan male in Gateshead on Thursday morning, 25 January. He was taken for questioning in Newcastle about allegations he was involved in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. He has now been released on bail while inquiries continue. The police have made clear this arrest is separate from the long-standing and on-going investigation by the same war crimes unit into 5 alleged genocidaire who have been in the UK for two decades. The arrested suspect has not yet been named though his name is known to Rj4g.org and members of the local Rwandan community.
Commander Dominic Murphy, who leads the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command told Rj4g.org: “The genocide in Rwanda in 1994 was an atrocity which continues to impact communities and families across the globe, and anyone who perpetrated it should face justice wherever they are in the world.
“Our investigation follows allegations of the most serious offences you can imagine, about events that occurred overseas decades ago. Gathering the evidence to support a potential future prosecution is a complex process that requires diligence and precision.
“We are committed to preventing the UK being seen as a safe haven for those who commit these appalling offences that affect victims and societies for decades. While an arrest is a significant milestone in any investigation, officers will continue to work to progress this inquiry.”
This arrest is the first for more than a decade.The last was in May 2013 when 5 Rwandans were arrested but after the attempt to extradite them failed in 2017 they were released. From 2019 UK poce began an active investigation into them but as yet, 5 years on, there has been no charges or move to put them on trial despite the UK’s supposed commitment to the Genocide Convention. The 2017 High Court extradition judgment noted all 5 suspects had prima facie evidence against them that should be tested in court. The alleged crimes include the organisation and enabling of militia to kill thousands of men, women and children, as well as specific instances of killing named individuals. (see their individual biographies for details of specific alleged crimes).
It is understood that around 20 Rwandans – on top of these 5 individuals under active investigation – have been highlighted to UK authorities for some time as genocide perpetrators living in the country. However the failure of the extradition process of the ‘original 5’ and the continued long drawn-out investigation into whether they can face prosecution in the UK has put authorities off from acting against them. With France and Belgium, previously the two major places of ‘safety’ where perpetrators fled to after the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, now holding trials such as took place just before Christmas, it is likely the UK with its 100 per cent impunity record for genocide perpetrators will increasingly attract those wishing to keep justice at bay. The UK remains, as the TIMELINE shows – the almost sole outlier among countries when it comes to dealing with the crime of genocide.
It is a sad state of affairs when countries no longer make the effort to inform UK authorities of genocide suspects living in its jurisdiction because they believe the UK government is not interested in taking any action and prefers impunity to action on this, the most serious of all crimes.