Genocide suspect on Swiss government welfare scheme
Latest reports indicate that Gaspard Ruhumuliza, a top Genocide fugitive gets a monthly stipend of $1,759 (approx. Rwf1 million) in welfare service from the Swiss government.
Media reports indicate that Ruhumuliza has earned $273,000 (approx. Rwf163m) since he started benefiting from the welfare fund.
This comes in the wake of a 2008 rejection by Swiss authorities of Rwanda’s request to extradite Ruhumuliza, and now latest revelations in Swiss media have riled Kigali.
“We made it clear in our legal documents sent to them clearly indicating the address where Ruhumuliza lives in Bern-Switzerland. He is a former minister in the genocidal regime, and the following has been done in a threefold approach; cooperation in criminal matters, at diplomatic level and investigations level to secure his arrest/trial but the Swiss authorities have kept a deaf ear to our call for justice,” said the head of Fugitive Tracking Unit, John Bosco Siboyintore.
Ruhumuriza was the Minister of Environment and Tourism in the interim government. He was also the head of the extremist faction of PDC political party.
Siboyintore said the fugitive’s case-file shows that efforts to track him down started early 2006, when his case was thoroughly investigated “and we were convinced that he had a case to answer and begun to track his address until we traced him to Bern-Switzerland, this was in 2007,” Siboyintore explained.
In Mid 2007, Interpol (Switzerland) confirmed that indeed the suspect lived in Bern, and in 2008, Rwanda sent an international arrest warrant, a formal request for extradition in form of a sworn deposition as their law requires and the indictment outlining extensively the charges against him, according to Siboyintore.
The suspect was indicted on Genocide, conspiracy to commit Genocide-in a joint criminal enterprise with the then Abatabazi Government, complicity in Genocide, and crimes against humanity.
“Basing on the extradition request and the arrest warrant, issued in 2008, the Swiss Government communicated to the Rwandan Government of its refusal to extradite the subject on 29th June 2009.”
A second option was proposed; to have the suspect tried in the European country and according to the official, the government sent a full dossier to facilitate the trial there, which was supposed to be conducted by military courts as per the Swiss law on Genocide and Crimes against Humanity, but nothing has hitherto been done.
“It is a shame that Switzerland is spending thousands of Euros on the welfare of a genocide fugitive, they should instead use that taxpayers’ money to bring him before courts of law,” said Siboyintore.
This shows how the Swiss Government has not taken this case seriously given the gravity of the crimes, but have instead taken as a priority his welfare ignoring the voices of the victims for justice”.
Europe has remained a safe haven for Genocide fugitives, especially those formerly occupying senior leadership positions in 1994. Though most countries have sent investigators to Rwanda, they have translated into nothing.
Countries like Belgium and Finland have tried and convicted suspects while others like Norway and Sweden ruled in favour of extradition to Rwanda but the extraditions are still being contested in various jurisdictions.
Contact email: edwin.musoni[at]newtimes.co.rw