Rwandan Genocide: suspect arrested in The Netherlands
On Tuesday the International Crimes Unit of the Dutch police arrested a 69-year old Rwandan man in Leersum. Rwanda has requested the extradition of Venant R., because he is suspected of being involved in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
In 1994 R. was the regional director of ISAR Rubona, an agricultural institute located outside of the southern city of Butare in Rwanda. When the killing and raping of Tutsi civilians began in 1994, more than one thousand Tutsi men, women and children gathered on the compound of ISAR Rubona and were killed.
Many of them left their homes because of killings elsewhere in Rwanda and searched for shelter on the compound of the agricultural institute. The Rwandan authorities suspect the wanted person of, inter alia, calling soldiers and militia to ISAR Rubona, who subsequently killed these Tutsi refugees.
In 2000 R. requested to be admitted as a refugee in The Netherlands. The Immigration and Naturalisation Service rejected his asylum application because there were serious reasons to consider that he was involved in the genocide. His appeal against this rejection was dismissed by the judge.
The 1994 genocide in Rwanda cost the lives of approximately 800.000 civilians.
The general principle for The Netherlands is that the investigation and prosecution of International Crimes should take place in the country where the crimes were committed if possible. In most cases, that is where most of the evidence is and where participants in proceedings are best acquainted with language, culture and background of the relevant events. More importantly, that is where usually most of the victims and their relatives are.