Arusha, 15 April 2009 (FH) - Two human rights organizations based in London--Redress and African Rights-- have called on Britain to amend its laws to be able to try Rwandans accused of having taken part in the genocide committed against ethnic Tutsis in 1994.

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The appeal follows the  rejection last week by the High Court of London to extradite to Kigali four Rwandans because they incurred "a real risk of flagrant denial of justice" if they were to be tried by the Rwandan courts.

"Redress and African Rights call on the UK government to urgently amend its law to allow for anyone suspected of genocide to be tried here[in Britain]", the two organizations said in a statement availed to Hirondelle Agency Wednesday.

"The present UK law is out of step with international law which has made genocide an international crime since the end of World War II and therefore open to prosecution in all states, including where suspects are found", the statement added.

"Other countries have previously denied extradition of suspects to Rwanda, yet domestic legislation in place in these countries ensures that suspects are held accountable", stressed the statement.

Arrested on 28 December 2006 in the United Kingdom, Emmanuel Nteziryayo, former Mayor of Mudasomwa (southern Rwanda), Celestin Ugirashebuja, former Mayor of Kigoma (southern Rwanda), Charles Munyaneza, former Mayor of Kinyamakara (southern Rwanda) and Vincent Bajinya, an alleged former  militia leader,  have denied any responsibility. The latter, a doctor by training, succeeded in obtaining British citizenship, under the name of Vincent Brown.

They are wanted by Rwanda, which accuses them of genocide, complicity to the genocide, crimes against humanity, conspiracy in order to commit murders, as well as various acts of destruction and plundering.

The genocide, committed from April to July 1994 by Hutu extremists, resulted, according to the UN, in approximately 800 000 deaths, primarily Tutsis.


© Hirondelle News Agency