Rwandans fail to avoid extradition

LONDON - Four men accused of involvement in the 1994 Rwanda genocide yesterday lost their legal bid to avoid extradition from the UK.

LONDON - Four men accused of involvement in the 1994 Rwanda genocide yesterday lost their legal bid to avoid extradition from the UK.

The four - Charles Munyaneza, Celestin Ugirashebuja, Vincent Bajinya and Emmanuel Nteziryayo - were arrested in different parts of England in December.

They are accused of killing, conspiring to kill, and aiding and abetting others to kill members of Rwanda's Tutsi ethnic group "with the intent to destroy in whole or in part, that group" in 1994.

All four deny the allegations.

Two judges at London's high court rejected their argument that home secretary John Reid had exceeded his powers by extending the time within which Rwanda was required to file detailed requests for the men's extradition.

Britain's Extradition Act provides for submissions to be filed within 45 days from the date of arrest, but those concerning Rwanda were allowed 95 days.

Judges said such an extension was "remarkable" but the law permitted it.

They were arrested after Britain signed a "memorandum of understanding" with Rwanda, which waived the death penalty and became a temporary special extradition partner.

The judges refused the men permission to appeal to the country's highest court, the House of Lords, but said this did not prevent them from applying directly to the Law Lords for permission.

The judges were told Rwanda had now filed detailed requests, but they had not yet been examined to establish whether it was in valid form and provided evidence of a prima facie case against them.

About 800000 people, most of them Tutsis, were killed within six weeks in the country in 1994 by Hutus. - Sapa-AFP

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