Rwandan suspects in the UK
The five Rwandan genocide suspects, who have now been living freely in the UK for nearly 25 years, are occasionally featured in media reports, but their cases are little known, as are the very crimes they are alleged to have committed in 1994. This section has a brief history of their case, which began way back in 2006 when their alleged complicity in genocide was exposed by the UK media and the government was finally forced to act, under public pressure. There are biographies of each of the five, the full court judgements made in the two extradition cases and appeals, as well as freedom of information requests about the proceedings and other suspected war criminals in the UK.
BREAKING NEWS – 25 January – A 69 year-old Rwandan male has been arrested in Gateshead by Counter terrorism police from S.O.15 investigating his alleged involvement in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. He was taken to Newcastle for questioning before being released on bail pending further inquiries. He has not been named yet.
Celestin Mutabaruka, 68, lives in Ashford, Kent. He was working as the director of a state forestry project in Rwanda in 1994. He is alleged to have been involved in the killings of Tutsi refugees at Gatare in April, and in May to have led interahahmwe militia killers to the hills of Bisesero where operations against Tutsi who had fled to the hills were taking place. Around 40,000 Tutsis died at Bisesero.
This is a sorry story of judicial and government failure of the very worst kind. Nowhere is the failure of the UK government to bring genocide suspects before justice more apparent than in the case of 5 Rwandans, who have lived quiet lives here, some at taxpayers expense, for two decades. They have successfully argued against extradition over 11 years, and have since 2017 carried on legally untroubled by the terrible crimes they are alleged to have committed.
The UK Rwandan High Commissioner implores the Parliament War Crimes Group to stop the continued impunity that protects alleged genocidaire living in the UK in an address to the group at Westminster on 6 June. After 17 years of legal inaction and failure, the UK continues to be a world leader in the promotion of genocide impunity. When will this end – if ever?
Charles Munyaneza, 66, lives in Bedford, and is a former Rwandan mayor. He is accused of assisting the interahahmwe militia to kill thousands of Tutsis living in his commune, where it is alleged he worked with a notorious military Colonel, Aloys Simba, in committing Genocide.
Celestin Ugirashebuja, 71, now lives in Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex. He is a former mayor. During the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi he is alleged to have worked with members of his commune staff and gendarmes (police) to kill Tutsi living in the local vicinity, including addressing crowds urging them to do so, and attending roadblocks where killings often took place to check on numbers murdered.
Vincent Bajinya (Brown), 71, lives in Islington, London. He trained as a medical doctor and also worked with the state population control agency. In 1994 Bajinya is alleged to have assisted interahahmwe militia at roadblocks near his house in Kigali and in north west Rwanda, where Tutsis were stopped and hacked to death. He is also alleged to have been directly involved in the killing of a man, woman and her young child.
Emmanuel Nteziryayo, 69, lives in Wythenshawe, South Manchester. In 1994, he was a mayor in Rwanda. He is alleged to have worked with the interahahmwe militia, assisting them in the massacre of thousands of Tutsis, especially at the infamous Murambi massacre. He is said to have ordered their burial in large pits using a digger, and assisted the recruitment of further interahahmwe during the later part of the genocide.
There were four court extradition rulings made between 2008 and 2017 at Westminster Magistrates Court and at High Court appeals. Each judgment (pdf) gives some background on the prima facie cases against the five genocide suspects, as well as reasons why the extradition was approved (2008) or denied (2009, 2015, 2017). Also included is the landmark 2012 European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling that a Rwandan genocide suspect could be safely extradited from Sweden to Rwanda.