Thursday, October 8, 2015

Spain dismisses Rwanda case, abolishes universal jurisdiction Special

By Judi Rever 
Digital Journal 
October 7, 2015

Spain’s supreme court has dismissed a high profile case against 40 Rwandan military officials indicted on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and other offenses committed in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo during the 1990s.

But the court ruling, announced on Tuesday, included a proviso that 29 Rwandan officials accused of terrorism could still be prosecuted if the alleged perpetrators were on Spanish territory or ‘brought before the court.’
“The ruling recognized there were enough factual criminal elements to build a formal accusation against the Rwandan Patriotic Front, which has ruled since 1994, but said a trial in absentia was not possible until the accused were brought before the court, “ said Jordi Palou Loverdos, a lawyer for Spanish, Rwandan and Congolese victims in the case, told Digital Journal.
The Spanish decision, obtained by Digital Journal, amounted to a final gutting of Spain’s universal jurisdiction laws, which stipulated that crimes of genocide and torture are so serious that people accused of committing them can be tried anywhere, even in countries where the crimes did not take place.
“It is a very sad day for victims and for justice in general,” said Palou Loverdos, adding the ruling was a ‘weak decision’ that he and his colleagues would consider challenging at Spain’s constitutional court.
Whether Spanish authorities would actively enforce the European Arrest Warrants against any of the 29 RPF commanders who might travel throughout Europe was not entirely clear in the ruling.
“It is a mystery,” Palou Loverdos admitted, saying the decision was vague.
In February 2008, Spanish Judge Fernando Andreu Merelles issued an indictment against 40 commanders loyal to Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who came to power in the ashes of the 1994 genocide which left an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and Hutus dead. Kagame is credited with routing Hutu extremists responsible for targeting Tutsis for extermination.
The Spanish indictment alleged that Kagame’s troops committed genocide and other serious crimes against Hutu civilians during the ethnic slaughter from April to July 1994. It said Kagame’s army continued to kill and torture civilians in the aftermath, before invading neighbouring Congo and slaughtering Hutu refugees there.
The allegations in the indictment are based on detailed testimony from former soldiers and officers of Kagame’s own army, most of whom fled the country following the genocide.
In terms of planning, degree of cruelty inflicted, and methods used to cover up acts – many of the RPF crimes described in the indictment bear striking similarity to evidence uncovered by the clandestine Special Investigations Unit of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. (Confidential documents from the ICTR unit have been accessed by this journalist.)
Spain was ultimately unable to persuade Western and African nations to extradite any of the 40 commanders indicted in 2008. Rwanda has received staunch support from the United States and Britain – and enjoyed immunity from criminal prosecution at the ICTR, whose mandate it was to prosecute genocide and other war crimes that occurred in Rwanda in 1994.
The closest the Spanish court came to extraditing an RPF official occurred in June 2015 when British police – acting on a European Arrest Warrant issued by Madrid -- arrested General Emmanuel Karenzi Karake, Kagame’s spy chief, during a visit to London.
The charges against Karake stemmed from his tenure as head of military intelligence after the 1994 genocide. The Spanish court accused him of ordering large scale, organized massacres of Rwandan civilians throughout a number of Rwandan areas.
The indictment alleged that Karake ordered the killing of three Spanish nationals working for the NGO Medicos del Mundo and was ultimately responsible for the murder of Canadian priest Guy Pinard in 1997.
Karake, whose defense lawyer was Cherie Blair, the wife of former UK prime minister Tony Blair, was due to appear at an extradition hearing in October. But in a surprise court appearance in August, a British judge dismissed the case against Karake on a technicality, after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) argued that it did not have jurisdiction to extradite the general. Spain vehemently disagreed with the ruling, saying the CPS had not acted on its behalf and failed to inform Judge Merelles of its decision and the legal reasoning behind it, according to Palou Loverdos.
Aaron Watkins, who currently works for Matrix – a legal firm Cherie Blair worked for until late 2014 – was one of two lawyers chosen to handle the case for Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service.
Immediately after the case against Karake was dismissed, Watkins told the media that “Spanish authorities accepted the general had not committed an offense that could be prosecuted in both countries.”
Palou Loverdos said Spain had neither accepted nor agreed on the matter, and that Judge Merelles had not been informed of the ruling beforehand. The Spanish had been blindsided, the lawyer for the victims said.
Spain has been the most assertive country to pursue the principle of universal jurisdiction, occasionally causing tyrants to tremble. It launched investigations into China’s crimes in Tibet, Israel’s bombardments in Gaza, and the United States’ use of torture at Guantanamo.
In 1998, its court issued an arrest warrant against ex Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet on charges of genocide, terrorism and torture. Pinochet was placed under house arrest in London but was never extradited to Spain. He died in Chile in 2006.
Yet Spain’s conservative People’s Party – battling the recession and eager to improve economic relations with China – sought to erode the country’s doctrine of universal jurisdiction since 2013.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Rwanda: L’Espagne Refuse de Recevoir le Ministre Busingye qui Exige la non Extradition de Karenzi Karake vers l'Espagne

Exclusive: General is accused of orchestrating revenge massacres in Rwanda
Par Oscar Nkurunziza

Chers forumistes du DHR,
Chers compatriots rwandais,

Je suis très écœuré par l'agitation de notre gouvernement à propos de l'arrestation de Mr. Karake Karenzi  (KK) à Londres. Tout d’abord, il faudrait savoir que contrairement à ce qui se passe au Rwanda, le fait d’être soupçonné ne signifie pas que l’accusé est nécessairement déclaré coupable. Aujourd’hui Mr KK est toujours présumé innocent. Il n y a que le juge qui peux le déclarer coupable après le procès.  Pourquoi le Rwanda est-il mal à l’aise si Mr. KK est si innocent ? S’il n’a rien à se reprocher il va le démontrer devant la justice avec l’aide de ses avocats et il sera blanchi. Quoi d’anormal ?

Combien de fois ce Mr. KK a été arrêté et mis en prison à Kigali ? Et pourquoi notre loquace la Ministre Louise MUSHIKIWAZO n’avait rien dit ? De quoi Mr. KK était-il accusé ? c’était les méchants FDLR qui avaient conduit à son arrestation ?  Et aujourd’hui le Rwanda découvre un ange qui n’a fait que arrêter le génocide. (D’ailleurs, j’aimerai savoir à quelle date le génocide des tutsis a été arrêté). On dirait que Mr. KK à part le fait d’arrêter le génocide, il n’a jamais eu d’autres responsabilités pendant les 20 dernières années.

Encore plus surprenant, le Ministre de la Justice Rwanda Mr. Busignye John  est allé à Madrid hier pour exiger que Mr. KK ne soit pas extradé vers l'Espagne. Toutefois, son homologue espagnol a refusé de le recevoir, car le problème de Mr. KK n'est pas d'ordre politique. Mr. Busignye ne comprend pas la différence entre les affaires politiques et judiciaires car au Rwanda c'est la politique qui décide tout !!!

Pendant ce temps Louise Mushikiwazo est à Londres pour demander la même chose.

A ce que je sache il n'y a pas besoin de décision politique pour envoyer Mr. KK vers l'Espagne; pour les mandats européens c'est une affaire entre magistrats.

Si les deux ministres ne rentrent pas avec Mr. KK, il vaut mieux qu'ils demandent l'asile politique en Europe ou ailleurs, car notre président les attend les pieds fermes !!!

La seule personne qui est reste sage est très digne, c'est notre président Paul Kagame. A part, le fait d'avoir cassé beaucoup de choses dans la maison par énervement et d'avoir donné quelques gifles à ses  ministres des affaires étrangères et de la Justice, ce qu'on comprend parfaitement connaissant l'homme, il est resté en dehors de cette affaire de Mr. KK.

Ci-joint voici le communiqué des victimes espagnolesà propos de l'arrestation de Mr. KK. Les victimes rwandaises devraient se manifester aussi.

A suivre


Statement from the families of the Spanish victims on the arrest of Karenzi Karake in London, UK.

We, the families of the Spanish nationals who died violently in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo between 1994 and 2000:





having learned of the arrest of General KARAKE KARENZI in London (UK), under an international arrest warrant and a European arrest warrant issued by the Spanish courts in accordance with international law and the principles of international law


I.- In the absence of a judicial enquiry by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda or the national courts of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo into the circumstances surrounding the violent death of our relatives in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, we found ourselves compelled to press criminal charges before the Spanish courts.

II.- After over three years of judicial investigation at national and international levels, the Central Court of Instruction No. 4 of the National  Court  issued  a  reasoned  indictment,  laying  out  detailed prima facie evidence on 40 senior military officers of the Rwandan Patriotic  Army  (RPA  /  RPF)  for criminal  acts  committed  between October   1,     1990 and           July    1,   2002,      both in   Rwanda       and   the Democratic                           Republic                    of                       Congo ( resol_auto_esp_06022008.pdf). These 40 senior military officers are under investigation for their alleged involvement in genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, crimes of terrorism or association to an armed group with terrorist intent.

III.- The arrest of General KARAKE KARENZI in London (UK) represents a major step forward towards the end of impunity for international  crimes  carried  out  during  that  period  in  those  two

African countries, which has caused -and continues to cause- so much suffering to individuals, families and communities of different nationalities and peoples.

IV.- We, the families of the Spanish victims, express once again our solidarity and sympathy to all the survivors of human rights abuses, and the families of victims of violent death in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo at that time, regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, nationality or any other status. In their memory, and after decades of having being ignored as victims, particularly the countless Rwandan and Congolese victims, each and everyone have the right to truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence.


First.- In accordance with universal human rights and applicable international law, we request that a trial affording all legal guarantees to both defendants and victims takes place.

Second.- To the Spanish authorities:

-    That, in compliance with international obligations and treaties to which Spain is party, legal validation is provided to the direct delivery and reception of General KARAKE KARENZI arrested under a European arrest warrant issued by the Spanish courts.
-   That once the arrested General KARAKE KARENZI is in Spain under the Spanish jurisdiction, and after any required procedures and possible complementary research, an oral trial is opened to prosecute the facts subject of research in this cause of justice.
-    That request again from the authorities of the Republic of South Africa, in accordance with the unanimous decision of the Government of       Spain                   dated       September         17,    2010 ( ejo_ministros.pdf) the arrest and surrender of General KAYUMBA NYAMWASA, under international arrest warrant and demand for extradition of the Central Court of Instruction No. 4 of the Audiencia Nacional (Spanish courts of justice), recalling that both Spain and South Africa are states party to the European Convention on Extradition.

Third.- To the British authorities:

-   That, in compliance with the international obligations and treaties to which the United Kingdom is party, legal validation is provided to the

direct delivery of General KARAKE KARENZI arrested under a European arrest warrant issued by the Spanish courts.

-    That the situation of arrest remains, at the disposal of the courts until released to the Spanish judicial authorities.

Fourth.- To the international community:

-    That considering that the criminal acts that took place between October 1, 1990 and July 1, 2002 in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are under investigation by the Spanish courts since most of them do not fall within the temporal jurisdiction of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda based in Arusha, Tanzania (1994) nor that of the International Criminal Court based in The Hague, Netherlands (July 1, 2002 onwards), cooperation from the authorities of the states of the international community and members of the United Nations is sought in order to deliver the defendants for the purpose of conducting a trial with all legal guarantees under applicable international law.

It is truth, justice and reparation we ask in this day, June 24, 2015.


Source: DHR