Germany and Rwanda row over a senior Rwandan official

11th November 2008, Comments 0 comments

A dispute erupts between Germany and Rwanda after German prosecutors detain and extradite a senior Rwandan official to France.

Berlin -- A senior Rwandan official, Rose Kabuye, who has been arrested in Germany on a European warrant, has agreed to be extradited to France, a justice official said Monday in Frankfurt.

Kabuye, 47, is chief of protocol to Rwandan President Paul Kagame and a leading member of his Rwandan Patriotic Front.

Following her detention on Sunday in Frankfurt, Rwandan authorities immediately summoned the German ambassador in Kigali to protest.

Rwandan foreign minister Rosemary Museminali told BBC radio on Monday that the arrest of Kabuye was "illegal and flawed," adding that Kabuye had diplomatic immunity. "We did not think they had any right or any base to arrest her," she was quoted saying.

German public prosecutor Hildegard Becker-Toussaint said that Kabuye had denied the two accusations of murder and membership in a terrorist association to a German magistrate, but agreed to fast-track extradition.

Kabuye, formerly mayor of Kigali, was remanded to a female prison until the final decision by Frankfurt superior court judges.

Kabuye has been wanted for questioning in France since Nov. 2006 in connection with the April 6, 1994 assassination of Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana, which had triggered a frenzy of genocide killing by his Hutu supporters.

Germany arrested her under a European arrest warrant.

Kabuye had arrived using her Rwandan passport, apparently to prepare the ground for a private visit by Kagame to Germany, German officials said. She did not have diplomatic travel documents.

She had previously visited Berlin in April, when Kagame was paying an official visit. In Germany's view Kabuye, as part of his delegation, had enjoyed diplomatic immunity from arrest on that occasion.

Rwanda broke off diplomatic relations with France following the issued warrant by magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguiere.

Diplomatic sources in Berlin said Germany had warned Kigali more than once earlier this month that Kabuye would be arrested under the warrant if she arrived in Frankfurt. The BBC quoted Museminali saying Rwanda had been aware of the warnings.

Bruguiere issued warrants in 2006 for the arrest of nine Kagame staff and recommended that a UN tribunal on genocide in Rwanda investigate Kagame.

The late Habyarimana had been in a plane that was shot down as it was returning to Rwanda in 1994, triggering months of genocide killings by radicals from his Hutu ethnic group.

In summer this year, Rwandan authorities issued an investigative report that accused France of assisting the genocide in 1994.

Rwanda claimed France trained Hutu militiamen who subsequently killed 800,000 of the Tutsi ethnic group and Hutu moderates.

Rwanda has said it will seek to have French politicians hauled before the UN tribunal. Foreign Minister Tharcisse Karugarama said at the time, "This is not a matter of revenge but of bringing out the truth."

French commentators rejected the report as a bid to divert attention from the suspicions against Kagame.

Berlin did not confirm the Rwandan protest. The German Foreign Ministry said it was "in contact with the Rwandan authorities."


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