Arusha, 8 July 2009 (FH) - The British authorities announced Tuesday that they were going to amend their laws in order to make it possible for their courts to try persons accused of 1994 genocide living in Great Britain, reports Hirondelle Agency.

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London made this announcement during a visit of the Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who on Tuesday met with the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, according to an AFP dispatch.

Currently, suspects of genocide, crimes of war or crimes against humanity, cannot be tried in the United Kingdom for acts committed before 2001.

With the proposed amendments, these suspects could soon be tried in the United Kingdom for crimes committed after 1991, which could open the way to "dozens" of trials, according to the Minister of Justice, Jack Straw.

When these amendments will be approved by Parliament, persons suspected of crimes during the genocide in Rwanda, or during the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, in Liberia and in Sierra Leone, could notably be prosecuted.

Gordon Brown underlined, during a press conference with Kagame, that it was important that those who are accused of atrocities no longer "hide" in Great Britain.

British courts sided in April with four Rwandans who opposed their extradition to their country, where they are accused of have taken part in the 1994 genocide.

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

The four men are wanted by Rwandan justice, which notably accuses them of genocide, complicity in genocide, crimes against humanity, agreement in order to commit murders, as well as various acts of destruction and looting.

Their extradition had been decided by the British Interior Minister Jacqui Smith, but they had filed an appeal to the High Court. .


© Hirondelle News Agency