Rwandan govt slams spy chief’s UK arrest
Karenzi Karake was held by British police at Heathrow Airport on Saturday in relation to a Spanish court’s 2008 indictment for war crimes.
Rwandan High Commissioner to the UK Williams Nkurunziza told the BBC on Monday, “We take strong exception to the suggestion that he’s being arrested on war crimes.”
Along with 40 current or retired Rwandan officials named in the Spanish ruling, Karake is said to have been involved in a number of massacres in the years after the infamous 1994 Rwandan Genocide, in which around a million people, mainly from the Tutsi ethnic group, were killed.
“Any suggestion that any of our 40 leaders are guilty of crimes against humanity is an insult to our collective conscience,” Nkurunziza added.
Karake is a former member of a paramilitary group and a member of the African nation’s ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).
“We are handling the matter with the UK government. They have better details on this evolving situation,” Justice Minister Johnston Busingye was quoted in Rwanda’s New Times newspaper as saying.
He said Rwanda would contest the decision legally, adding, “We have sought explanation from the UK on this matter as well.”
Alongside many Rwandans, nine Spanish NGO workers are alleged to have been killed on Karake’s orders.
It is reported that Karake has visited the UK many times before and never been held despite the Spanish ruling being in effect since 2008.
There have been suggestions that the UK’s Rwandan community may be been involved in tipping off police about his latest visit.
“It’s very important that the UK is following the European arrest warrant,” British-based human rights activist Rene Claudel Mugenzi told the International Business Times.
“This guy has been here [the UK] many times and was not arrested. But this time the Rwandan community were involved in informing the police,” Mugenzi added.
In a statement released Monday, a Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “Karenzi Karake, 54, a Rwandan national appeared before Westminster magistrates’ court on Saturday 20 June after being arrested on a European arrest warrant on behalf of the authorities in Spain, where he is wanted in connection with war crimes against civilians.”