Arusha, May 30, 2013 (FH) – Five Rwandans have been arrested in the UK on suspicion of participation in the 1994 genocide, according to a statement from the Rwandan Prosecutor’s office and concurring reports in the British media, including the BBC and The Independent newspaper. 

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They were arrested following an extradition request from Rwandan prosecutors.

According to the Rwandan communiqué, those arrested include three former mayors in southern Rwanda, Emmanuel Nteziryayo, Charles Munyaneza and Célestin Ugirashebuja. The fourth is a doctor and former official at the population office, Vincent Bajinya, while the fifth is Célestin Mutabaruka, who was head of an agricultural project in Gikongoro, southern Rwanda.

The three former mayors were arrested in 2006 but then set free. The High Court in London blocked their extradition, saying there was a “real risk” they would not get a fair trial in Rwanda.

Human rights organizations Redress and African Rights then called on the UK to amend its laws so as to be able to judge them in national courts.

“We welcome these arrests,” the communiqué quotes Rwandan Attorney General Martin Ngoga as saying. He stressed that Rwanda had demanded their extradition so that they could be tried before Rwandan courts for “the genocide against Tutsis and crimes against humanity”.

The BBC quotes Ngoga as saying that Rwanda has made "significant progress" on addressing concerns about fair trials since the 2009 High Court ruling

Up to now Norway is the only European country to have extradited to Rwanda a suspect wanted in connection with the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.