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Friday 31 October  

Danish court backs Rwanda genocide suspect's extradition

Published on 19 November 2012 - 10:28pm
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A Danish district court on Monday upheld a justice ministry decision to extradite a Rwandan man to face charges of genocide allegedly carried out during the country's 1994 massacre.

The 50-year-old suspect, whose name was not released, was unable to prove he "would not receive a fair trial in Rwanda," said the court in Roskilde, some 35 kilometres (20 miles) west of Copenhagen.

The court also said it was not proven he "would be subjected to torture or other inhumane treatment", nor that "he because of his ethnicity and political viewpoints risks persecution in his home country".

The suspect has lived in Denmark for the past 12 years, Danish prosecutors said.

The man, who claims he is innocent, on Monday appealed the extradition to a higher court, his lawyer Bjoern Elmquist told AFP.

Elmquist said he did not believe his client would get a fair trial in Rwanda.

"The pretty painting of the circumstances do not match reality," Elmquist told Ritzau news agency.

"A lot of people go missing without a trace in Rwanda, without authorities doing anything," he said.

In 2008, Rwandan authorities asked Copenhagen to either extradite the man or prosecute him in Denmark.

Danish authorities decided to prosecute him, but discovered they could not press charges for genocide under Danish law. Instead they indicted him for murder.

The Danish law has since changed to allow acts of genocide committed abroad to be prosecuted in the Scandinavian country, but the law cannot be applied retroactively.

In February 2012, Rwandan authorities demanded the man's extradition.

According to the Danish murder indictment, the man gave orders to kill hundreds of ethnic Tutsis during the genocide of 1994 in Rwanda.

He is fighting both the extradition from Rwanda, and the Danish indictment.

Elmquist said the extradition appeal would be heard in February and March 2013, while the Danish murder case has been postponed until June 2013, though that case depends on the outcome of the extradition appeal.

Approximately 800,000 Tutsis were killed during the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

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