Uproar In Uganda Over Lt Mutabazi Extradition

more about geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>Opposition FDC spokesperson, viagra 100mg Wafula Oguttu, cheap says “When someone has run away from your country and sought refuge in another, you should let him be.”

“In any case most of the people in leadership in Rwanda today were at one time refugees in this country and elsewhere in the world,” he told journalists on Monday at the party headquarters in Najjanankumbi, Uganda.

“What if we had allowed [Former president] Juvenal Habyarimana to come and handpick them one by one like they are doing?” wondered Oguttu.

In a press release on October 31, the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness, and Refugees, Hilary Onek, claimed that Mutabazi had escaped from his hotel, police had apprehended him, and “in an error of judgment and misinterpretation of the International Arrest Warrant, a police officer regretfully handed him over to the Government of Rwanda officials.”

Joel Aguma, the deputy head of Crime Intelligence who oversaw the Mutabazi’s handover, has since been suspended.


Rwandan police last week said Mutabazi was wanted for “terrorism and other crimes” and suspected of involvement in grenade attacks led by the Rwanda National Congress, General Kayumba Nyamwasa’s exiled opposition group, in collaboration with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a predominantly Rwandan armed group operating in eastern Congo that consists in part of people who took part in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

The Human Rights Watch (HRW), which is hugely critical of Kigali government policies, said Ugandan authorities should immediately put in place effective measures to protect Rwandan refugees and asylum seekers, particularly those whose security is at risk.

“The Ugandan authorities should urgently complete the investigation they have announced into Mutabazi’s handover to Rwanda and publish its findings without delay,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director, HRW.

He said Mutabazi should be transferred back to Uganda and subjected to a formal extradition procedure in a Ugandan court, including consideration of the human rights implications of the transfer and his refugee status.

“Uganda had granted Mutabazi refugee status in 2011, which means his risk of persecution in Rwanda, had been established and recognized,” Bekele said.

“If Uganda is serious about remedying the error of handing him over to Rwanda without any legal process, they should ask the Rwandan authorities to return him and allow the Ugandan courts to decide the extradition request.”

It remains unclear if Uganda would take such a move. Rwanda has since welcomed Uganda’s show of “solidarity in combating regional terrorism.”

Several people have perished in a string of grenade attacks in Rwanda which Kigali believes were being coordinated by Mutabazi, an Israel-trained commando and former presidential guard.

Mutabazi is expected in court soon to face charges of terrorism, bank robbery and treason among others.

How it started

On August 14th, 2013, the Government of Rwanda sent a formal request for the arrest and extradition of one Lt. Mutabazi, formerly a member of Rwandan Military. The request was sent by Interpol Kigali to Interpol Kampala.

The request indicated that Lt. Mutabazi is a Rwandan national, who is wanted by Rwanda National Police for the offence of armed robbery.

The offence allegedly occurred at 10.00pm on September 20, 2011 in Kigali, Rwanda. Lt. Mutabazi is accused together with two other individuals.

Lt. Mutabazi and others, while armed with three submachine guns (AK-47 assault rifles) reportedly attacked Banque de Kigali, Remera branch and stole Ten Million Rwanda Francs (10,000,000 Frw).

Two suspects were later arrested while Lt. Mutabazi escaped to an unknown destination.

Interpol Kigali requested Interpol Kampala to assist in locating the whereabouts of the suspect, arrest him and extradite him to Kigali, in accordance with the law, to face trial for the offences committed.

On August 20, 2013 at 3:00pm, Uganda Police located the suspected fugitive at UNIK Hotel in Kyaliwajjala, a Kampala suburb.

Police Officers went to the hotel, identified themselves to the manager, and arrested the suspect. They detained him at Jinja Road Police Station, pending further processing and formal extradition to Rwanda.

However, government later discovered that the suspect had acquired refugee status and was under the protection of UNHCR and Office of the Prime Minister.

The Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Hon Musa Ecweru, contacted the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, about Lt. Mutabazi’s arrest, and informed him that the suspect was under the protection of the Office of the Prime Mininister.

Kayihura requested Hon Ecweru for an official letter confirming whether the fugitive had acquired refugee status in Uganda.

On receipt of the confirmation letter, the suspect was released to the Commissioner of Refugees in the Office of the Prime Minister on August 21, 2013.

According to Deputy Police publicist, Patrick Onyango, there was “no abduction, kidnap or use of fake Interpol warrant of arrest as alleged by a section of the media,” adding, “This was a routine request from Interpol, which was subjected to due process, and a decision made based on the laws of Uganda, and relevant International Conventions to which Uganda is party.”

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