Emmanuel Nteziryayo


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Benchill, Wythenshawe, Manchester

Early life:

Emmanuel Nteziryayo was born in 1954 in Munyege cell, Tare II sector, Mudasomwa Commune in Gikongoro prefecture, some 70 miles south west of the capital Kigali. His parents, John Nyandara and Venantie Nyirahabineza, were peasant farmers.

He attended Mbuga primary school in Nyamagabe district and then went to secondary school at the Petit Seminaire de Cyahinda in Cyahinda sector (currently in Nyaruguru district).

Following this he attended the Grand Seminaire de Nyakibanda in Gishamvu, near the southern town of Butare, but left before completing his secondary studies.

As with many who did not complete their studies, Nteziryayo became a teacher at Groupe Scolaire Mere du Verbe Kibeho in Nyaruguru district.

He was appointed Bourgmeister (mayor) of his home commune of Mudasomwa in Gikongoro prefecture in June 1991. At this time Rwanda was a single party state with everyone belonging to the president’s MRND party from birth. Nteziryayo was present at a meeting called by President Habyarimana in the coming year when the announcement was made of the official creation of the Interahamwe militia – the force that was to be mainly responsible for the genocide in 1994.

Nteziryayo was a close friend of the long-time bourgmeister Desire Ngezahayo in the nearby commune of Karama, and of his ‘boss’, the Prefect of the Gikongoro prefecture Laurent Bucyibaruta. He was also close to Francois Gakuru, the president of the Hutu extremist CDR (Coalition pour la Défense de la République et de la Démocratie) party. Nteziryayo remained loyal to the MRND/presidential party even after the advent of multi-party politics in late 1991 and during the coming storm political in 1992/3 as new opposition parties vied for power, especially in the south of the country where Habyarimana’s influence was weak after years of regionalist policies by the president favouring his northern heartland.

Allegations of complicity in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi:

Around 7 April 1994, the days the genocide began in earnest, it is said that Bourgmeister Nteziryayo held meetings with the conseillers (local administrators) of the 13 secteurs into which his commune was divided administratively, and gave them guns. He instructed them to set up roadblocks, check identity cards in which a person’s ethnicity was named and to kill all Tutsis. He made a tour of roadblocks himself on around 9 April and in following days, even promising one person to move him to a more ‘active roadblock as the one he currently manned had no Tutsi to kill.

The bodies of the Tutsis should be hidden by being buried. For example, Nteziryayo is said to have supervised the burial of the bodies of Tutsi workers at Emujeco who had been murdered, and then organised a party for the killers.

He arranged for Tutsi refugees to be taken to Murambi where there was a school under construction, but where the water had been cut off and food was denied to the deperate Tutsi refugees. Homes belonging to Tutsis were burnt down.

Nteziryayo was present at the same meetings attended by co-defendant and bourgmeister Charles Munyaneza, on 13 April and 26 April when all 13 bourgmeisters in the Gikongoro prefecture reported back on the numbers of Tutsis that had been so far been killed in their areas, discussed security, how to improve roadblocks and the use of churches as place of refuge by those trying to escape the killers. The meeting on 13 April decided to set up roadblocks, with Nteziryayo informing the participants that killings had already begun in his prefecture. After the meeting a roadblock was formed at Kumurangura where many Tutsi were killed. A message was also sent around 13 or 14 April that all able-bodied youth were to report to Ruramba; they were then sent to Rwamiko to kill Tutsi there.

Nteziryayo told people at Gasendra market that because white men were taking photos of the dead, any Tutsi bodies should be taken to a pit near where his home was being built and dumped in it. He suggested the Emujeco digger for a similar purpose.

Around 17 April Nteziryayo arrived a roadblock near the Mata tea factory, just after three religious brothers had been killed. He told the conseiller of the secteur to find a place to bury the bodies.

On around 21 April attacks were launched on the crowds of Tutsi refugees who had fled to Murambi. Interahamwe militia, armed with guns, grenades and traditional weapons such as machetes massacred thousands of men, women and children. Nteziryayo is said to have assisted by transporting Interahamwe to the site along with bags of grenades.

At the meeting on 26 April in the Prefecture Office, Nteziryayo reported that all Tutsis had been killed in his commune, and that militia were now helping to kill in other areas. He agreed with others to assist recruitment of more Hutu youth into the militia, and to spread a false rumour that Tutsi survivors could now come out of hiding as the killing had stopped. This was a ruse and those returning were killed. In May 1994 he did nothing to prevent people being beaten at a roadblock. In June, Nteziryayo called for the military training of Hutu youths.

Post genocide:

After the defeat of the genocidal interim regime and its army/militia in early July, Nteziryayo fled over the border to Uvira in Zaire (now DRC) where he continued to exert authority over the mass of mainly Hutu refugees, as did many of the ex-regime leaders, as a leader in a refugee camp.

Later he fled by water to Zambia where he lived until 2003.

Life in UK:

On arrival in the UK in 2003, Nteziryayo claimed state benefits, posing as an asylum seeker from Burundi using the alias ‘Emmanuel Nidikumana’. He volunteered at a local church in Manchester.

On the 16 August 2006, the BBC broke the story of his alleged participation in the genocide ‘Genocide suspect discovered in UK.’ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/4797001.stm

In December 2006 Nteziryayo was arrested in Wythenshaw, Manchester, by UK police, and gave false details to the arresting officer about himself. The police were acting on a request by the Rwandan government who requested his extradition for trial on suspicion of murder and for planning or incitement to commit genocide of Tutsis between 1 January 1994 and 12 December 1994. Three other Rwandans were arrested at the same time (Charles Munyaneza, Vincent Bajinya (Brown) and Celestin Ugirashebuja). The accused were held in Belmarsh prison, South London, while the extradition case was heard at Westminster Magistrates Court (September 2007 – May 2008) before District Judge Evans.

On 6 June 2008 the Court issued a judgement in favour of their extradition. On 1 August the Secretary of State approved their extradition.

On 8 April 2009, the High Court reversed this ruling and denied extradition on the basis that it was felt the four accused would not receive a fair trial in Rwanda. Nteziryayo was subsequently released back to his home in Manchester.

Four years later on 30 May 2013, Nteziryayo was re-arrested, along with Charles Munyaneza, Vincent Bajinya (Brown), Celestin Ugirashebuja and Celestin Mutabaruka after a new extradition request by Rwanda. After two weeks held in Belmarsh prison the five suspects were bailed on condition they signed in at their local police station each day.

On 21 December 2015, after two and a half years of legal hearing and rulings, the extradition request was again refused, due to concerns with the possible fairness of any trial the accused may receive in Rwanda. The Rwandan government appealed against this ruling at the High Court of Justice (Queen’s bench). On 28 July 2017 – a decade after the original extradition case began – a final judgement was made in favour of the defendants, though it also noted that each of the accused had a prima facie case that should be answered in a court of law.

Nteziryayo was represented by Diana Ellis QC and Joanna Evans – the former barrister an experienced defence lawyer for many of most high profile accused genocidaire at the International Tribunal in Arusha (ICTR) – but claimed a relatively small amount of public legal aid (£17,000) indicating he has substantial private means/support despite claiming state benefits.

In January 2018, Rwandan Prosecutor General Jean Bosco Mutangana and Prosecutor Jean Bosco Siboyintore, Head of the Genocide Suspects Tracking Unit, travelled to London to request the United Kingdom to open an investigation against the five individuals suspected of having participated in the 1994 genocide. They recalled the obligation of the United Kingdom to try or extradite such individuals.

On 9 April 2019, the Met Police anti-terrorism unit (S.O.15) reported that it was assessing the available evidence with a view to opening a full investigation. Minister of State for Security and Economic Crime Ben Wallace announced that investigations concerning those five individuals might take up to five years. However, he told members of the Parliament that the UK government would provide all necessary resources at its disposal so that justice would be served. He announced that police officers were sent to Rwanda to investigate on the ground.

In September 2020, four of the five suspects, including Nteziryayo, were voluntarily questioned by police over suspicion of genocide and crimes against humanity. None were arrested. The Met police have continued with their investigations (to the present) with no outcome yet announced.

The continuing delay and a failure to take any action – in keeping with the UK’s dire record of bringing to justice alleged genocidaire and war criminals living openly in its communities – resulted in members of the UK parliament deciding to reform their group that had originally been brought together in the late 1980s to address the former Nazi war criminals living with impunity in the UK. On 21 April 2021, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on War Crimes announced it would ‘look into matters relating to the presence of alleged Rwandan war criminals in the UK and the prosecution of those who participated in the Rwandan genocide’.

On 26 April 2021, the Rwandan Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Johnston Busingye, held virtual discussions with the APPG, noting that “Rwanda does not seek revenge” and will not “prejudge the 5 suspects, whether they are innocent or guilty will be decided by the courts. All [Rwanda] seek[s] is that due process is followed and that justice, so far delayed, does not end up denied.”

Nteziryayo married to his wife Flavienne in 1992. They have five children aged between 20 and 28. He remains on state benefits.

Resources (PDFs):

BBC: Nteziryayo – Genocide suspect discovered in UK 16 Aug 2006
Manc. Eve News: Manchester man arrested over genocide 15 Feb 2007
Manc Eve News: Rwandan wins extradition fight 8 April 2009
East African: Call to arrest all genocide suspects 7 June 2013
KT Press: UK ‘denying’ Rwandans justice 13 Aug 2017
Lawofnations blog: UK extradition refusal legal analysis 10 Oct 2017
Aegis Trust/Urumuri: Survivors letter to Home Secretary 9 Dec 2018
The Sun: Genocide suspects run up 5 million legal bill 8 Sept 2018
Daily Mirror: Police Question Rwandan suspects about Rwandan atrocities 15 Nov 2020
Daily Mail: Scotland Yard detectives travel to Rwanda in genocide probe 21 Jan 2023