Green light - Sweden to Rwanda genocide extradition

07 November 2011 by Juergen Schurr

The long-awaited judgement in the case of Ahorugeze v Sweden was delivered by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on 27 October. Judges decided that Sylvere Ahorugeze’s extradition to Rwanda would not breach the European Convention on Human Rights: his extradition would not expose him to a real risk of ill-treatment (Article 3) and it conformed with his rights to a fair trial, guaranteed by Article 6.

Ahorugeze, the former head of the Rwandan Civil Aviation Authority, is wanted by Rwanda to stand trial for his alleged involvement in genocide and crimes against humanity committed during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

Hundreds in Europe
While the judgement is not yet final - Ahorugeze may request the referral of his case to the ECHR’s Grand Chamber - it is a crucial decision as it will have an impact far beyond this case. It is the first judgment of the ECHR, indeed of any regional human rights court, to decide on an extradition of a genocide suspect to Rwanda. The judgement is important because it not only believed that hundreds of genocide suspects are currently residing in Europe, but also follows a series of court decisions in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany and Switzerland, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom denying the extradition of suspects to Rwanda.

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