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Sweden high court rules government may extradite Rwandan Hutu

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Sweden [official website, in Swedish] ruled [judgment, PDF, in Swedish] Tuesday that the Swedish government would have the final authority on granting extradition of an alleged Rwandan war criminal. The Republic of Rwanda requested extradition of Hutu Sylvere Ahorugeze for charges of genocide and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the 1994 genocide [HRW backgrounder]. Ahorugeze argued that Swedish extradition law [text, PDF] and Article 6 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms [text] prevented his extradition based on the danger of persecution, his refugee status in Denmark, poor health conditions, and the shortcomings of Rwanda's justice system. He maintained that he would be denied a fair trial in Rwanda due to the likely difficulty in obtaining witnesses for his defense. The court found that such extradition was allowed under both domestic and international law and that Rwanda's justice system, while flawed, has been continuously improving in recent years.

Ahorugeze had been living in Denmark for several years as a refugee before being arrested in Sweden. Last week, a Rwandan Hutu was convicted [JURIST report] under Canada's new Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act [text, PDF]. In April, the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) [official website] called on the Rwandan government to investigate reports of killings [JURIST report] during and after the uprising by the Rwandan Patriotic Army to end the 1994 genocide. In March, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon [official profile; JURIST news archive] pledged his ongoing support [JURIST report] for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda [JURIST news archive] (ICTR) and stressed that the international community must continue to combat genocide.

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