Prosecutor urges genocide suspect’s extradition to Rwanda

Sweden’s top prosecutor has said she sees no reason to stop the extradition of a man suspected of having a role in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

Annette von Sydow wrote in the brief sent to AFP on Tuesday that Sweden’s Supreme Court should rule in favour of extraditing Sylvere Ahorugeze, a 52-year-old Rwandan who was formerly a meteorologist at Kigali’s airport.

He is suspected of being one of the leaders of the Hutu extremists involved in the genocide and is also believed to have murdered 28 Tutsis in a suburb of Kigali on April 7, 1994.

“There is nothing in the (Swedish) extradition law or the European Convention blocking this extradition,” von Sydow wrote, adding that there was “probable cause” for the suspicions against Ahorugeze.

Hutu extremists killed some 800,000 people, mainly minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus, during the 100-day genocide.

Ahorugeze denies the accusations, his lawyer told AFP on Tuesday.

“He says that this has never happened” and that he “was not there,” said the lawyer, Hans Bredberg.

Ahorugeze, who has been a refugee in Denmark since 2001, was arrested last July after he was recognized at the Rwandan embassy in neighbouring Sweden.

Kigali demanded his extradition a month later.

Human rights groups such as Amnesty International have called on countries not to extradite genocide suspects to Rwanda for fear they will not receive a fair trial, and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has also declined to send several suspects back to the country on the same grounds.

“The (Rwandan) justice system today is not so flawed that we cannot expect the person in question to receive a so-called fair trial,” von Sydow told Swedish public radio on Tuesday.

The head of Amnesty International’s Swedish branch, Lise Bergh, disagreed.

“We see nothing new in the situation in Rwanda that would justify the prosecutor general’s decision,” she told AFP.