Arusha, 16 July 2009 (FH) - Sweden announced Thursday that it was suspending until further notice the extradition of the former head of the Rwandan civil aviation, SylvereAhorugeze, wanted by the justice of his native country for his alleged role in the 1994 genocide, reports HirondelleAgency.

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The suspension follows a request from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the wake of an appeal filed by the accused, according to AFP dispatch.

"The (European) Court decided to notify Swedish government that MrAhorugezeshould not be extradited to Rwanda until further notice. The Swedish government respects this decision", stated a Swedish Justice Ministry official, Cecilia Riddselius, quoted by the French news agency.

Swedenhad announced last Thursday to extradite the former director of Rwandan civil aviation, suspected of having been an Interahamwemilitia leader and being involved in 28 murders of Tutsi committed on 7 April 1994. He has denied the allegations.

The Swedish decision was welcomed by Kigali as recognition of the Rwandan legal system. The Prime Minister Bernard Makuzahad even wished that it would serve as an example to other Western countries and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), headquartered in Arusha, Tanzania.

This United Nations tribunal has rendered decisions refusing to deny itself jurisdiction of certain cases to the benefit of Rwandan justice.

The ICTR judges have expressed doubts whether the defendants would not be able to call their witnesses under the same conditions as the prosecution if they were transferred to Rwanda.

Western countries have based themselves on these ICTR decisions to reject extradition requests for Rwandans accused of genocide.

After the announcement of the decision by the Swedish authorities to transfer him to his country of origin, Ahorugezeappealed on 13 July before the European Court of Human Rights.

If the extradition had succeeded, Sweden would have become the first European country to extradite a person suspected of genocide to Rwanda.


© HirondelleNews Agency