Brussels, 1 December 2008 (FH) - About hundred Rwandans protested last week in Brussels in front of the buildings of the Council of Europe and the European Commission to request the release of Rose Kabuye, the head of protocol for Rwandan President Paul Kagame arrested at the beginning of the month in Germany and transferred to France.

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The week before, a protest also took place in Kampala, the Ugandan capital. Rose Kabuye is one of the nine Rwandans targeted by the arrest warrants issued in November 2006 by French Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière. He accuses these representatives of the regime in power in Kigali to have taken part, on 6 April 1994, in the attack against the plane of President Juvénal Habyarimana. This attack preceded the beginning of the Tutsi genocide committed by Hutu extremists, which resulted in more than 800 000 deaths according to the UN.

"These warrants are politicized", argued a spokesperson of the Rwandan Community in Belgium (CRB), the association at the origin of the protest, "we consider that the European Union does not have the right to thus assume the power to ridicule the sovereignty of poor countries". According to him, the arrest warrants issued in February by Spanish justice against forty soldiers of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), the party in power, are as debatable in that they are based on the "negationnist theory" of the double genocide.

Whereas a Rwandan inquiry commission published in August a report underlining the responsibilities of the French authorities in the conception of the 1994 genocide, the CRB also estimates that "France is in a bad position to want to try those who put an end to the genocide whereas it contributed to set it up".

The protesters, which some carried caps of the RPF colors, addressed a memorandum to the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, in which they deplore "the improper use [...], for political ends, of universal jurisdiction". "Universal jurisdiction must have its true mission re-established, track and prosecute those who are really guilty", he advocated in this text.

The CRB regrets, thus, that the genocidaires who live in countries of the European Union without worry and, while requiring a moratorium of the execution of the arrest warrants, requests the creation of a "supra-continental court" which would control the non-political character of possible arrest warrants incriminating African leaders.


© Hirondelle News Agency