The Mozambican Attorney-General’s Office (PGR) has decided to remit to the Justice Ministry a request from its Rwandan counterpart for the extradition of 12 Rwandan citizens, believed to be living in Mozambique, who are accused of crimes committed during the genocide of 1994.
According to a report in the Maputo daily paper “Noticias”, so far there has been no reply to the Rwandan request because the PGR can take no decision on the matter without government approval.
Once the Justice Ministry has taken a decision the dossier will return to the PGR. If the decision is that the 12 should indeed be extradited, then the PGR and the Supreme Court must take measures to locate them and to send them to Kigali, to answer for the crimes of which they are accused.
The 12 are believed to have entered Mozambique as refugees, but the PGR fears it could prove difficult to find them. Knowing that they are wanted by the Rwandan authorities, they have probably changed their addresses.
Recently the Rwandan Prosecutor-General Richard Muhumuza visited Mozambique to strengthen, in person, the extradition request.
The Rwandan genocide was carried out by Hutu supremacists, against members of the minority Tutsi ethnic group, although Hutu moderates, who did not wish to turn against their Tutsi friends and neighbors, were also slaughtered. The massacres lasted for 100 days, until the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), led by the country’s current President, Paul Kagame, took power.
Members and supporters of the Hutu genocidal militias scattered across central and southern Africa, and the Rwandan authorities are continuing their attempts to bring them to justice. Back in 2009, Rwanda publicly accused Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia of failing to cooperate in the hunt for genocide suspects.
Mozambican Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi then told the BBC that, although Mozambique had to abide by UN conventions on refugees, it would cooperate in tracking down genocide culprits. “Mozambique has no interest whatsoever in hosting criminals”, he said.