PROSECUTORS in Spain on Tuesday called for Britain to extradite the head of Rwanda’s intelligence service to Madrid, a judicial source said, after he was arrested in London over allegations dating back to the country’s conflict in the 1990s.
British police detained 54-year-old general Karenzi Karake at Heathrow airport on Saturday on a Spanish arrest warrant that was issued as part of an investigation into alleged crimes during the Rwanda conflict.
At the National Court, prosecutors asked a judge “to request the authorities in London to hand him over” to Spain to face terrorism charges, the judicial source told AFP. The court could not say when a judge was likely to rule on the request.
British police said Karake was due to appear in court in London on Thursday.
Spain’s National Court launched an investigation in 2008 into allegations of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and terrorism in Rwanda in the 1990s. The court’s listing of Karake followed an investigation into the murder of nine Spaniards who were working with refugees in Rwanda between 1994 and 2000.
It later shelved the first three sets of charges but “the case is still active for the crimes of terrorism” in the case of nine Spanish people killed in Rwanda, the source told AFP. Karake is part of a circle of top military officers in the former Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) rebel movement.
A key figure in Rwanda’s security apparatus, Karake has held a string of senior positions, including his current role as director general of the National Intelligence and Security Services.
He played a major role, alongside powerful RPF stalwart General James Kabarebe, in Rwanda’s long and controversial wars in the east of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) beginning in 1996.
Emmanuel Karake Karenzi of Rwanda is believed to be a mass-murder
We can confirm that General Emmanuel Karenzi Karake was arrested by the Metropolitan Police on 20 June on behalf of the authorities in Spain.
This was a legal obligation, following the issue of a valid European Arrest Warrant.
The UK has been a close partner in Rwanda’s remarkable progress since the horrific events of the genocide in 1994. The UK has a strong and effective aid partnership with the Government of Rwanda.
We co-operate closely on a growing range of regional and international issues. Her Majesty’s Government greatly values the close relationship with Rwanda and is committed to that relationship for the long term.
British High Commission Kigali
Emmanuel Karake Karenzi nicknamed “Afande KK“, was born on December 23, 1960 in Buringa Commune, near the border with Uganda. This is the place where the RPF entered Rwanda from Uganda in 1990.
Before that, Karenzi was as the commander of the Third Division RDF, Director of Military Intelligence, and deputy commander for the Gitarama-Kibuye military region in central-western Rwanda.
Recently, Maj. Gen Karenzi was appointed to be the deputy commander of the join AU-UN peace keeping force in Darfur Sudan, then problems begun. We heard that Karenzi is a killer. Among the charges said against him were that
- Maj-Gen Emmanuel Karake Karenzi was one of the RPA officers who took part in the massacre of Hutu refugees in the Kibeho camp in 1995.
- He also took on missions to kill prominent Hutu politicians and even some Tutsi people who did not support the RPF when he was the liaison officer for the RPF on the OAU military observatory in 1992-94.
- Karenzi was one of the RPF officers who was deployed in Zaire in 1996/1997 to massacre Hutu refugees.
And many other things which you can read by yourself later.
We have also received questions asking that Kagame should explain to the world what happened to many prominent Hutus who were living in Kampala when the RPF was fighting Habyarimana’s government? Why were they abducted by the RPF and killed?
As you know for us we see president Kagame and Museveni as different sides of the same coin. The guys can talk well and support good things publicly but in heart they are the most deadly you have ever seen oh! You cross them once time only and you are gone! So we already have our story how things are. But instead now, we asked our brother who also loves his country to source in Rwanda and tell us what is happening, and how they saw things. The story we have got so far it seems more convincing that Kagames is hiding something.
In fact dear readers it shows why you must never trust the word of these government at just face value. When the minister or president puts out a statement, don’t just sit there and acccept what they are saying. The truth is politicians know that people trust and fear them, so they use that trick to twist things anyway they like knowing that the people will just accept. You read the Kigali analyst and think for yourself.
Some few additions. Someone says Karenzi was in Kololo S.S. but we cannot check this now. Another person complained about the mistake of saying INGILI, INGLIL and INKINGI that it is not Rwandese. Our man says pardon, he overlooked the typing mistake but it is the same UDF. It is not different so now we removed the mistake. A few people are writing saying we should leave the man alone and not ask anything. Really president Paul Kagame and all his power cannot answer to the world on just a simple thing like this and yet it is very important?
Some accusations are general but many are very specific including names and dates. The detailed ones are easier to disprove so the Government should just put out the facts to shut its critics up. Getting into unnecessary arguments and name-calling suggests they are not willing to put their facts in the open.
The second side which I can talk about is the well known UN report. It is called “Independent International Commission of Inquiry into the events at Kibeho in April 1995”. The UN wrote it to document and account for the Kibeho massacre. You can download and read it at a link provided below. It is important to note how the Government misrepresents this report.
The third side is the Rwanda Government. They have also put out a statement defending Major General Karenzi. I want to show you some of the problems that I personally have with this statement:
1. The statement says the timing of these accusations shows an ill motive. This is not true. Since about 1999/2000, Rwandese in exile have written articles that mention Karake in connection with these crimes. What is new is the unprecedented publicity provided these allegations due to the prominence and high profile nature of his recent appointment.
The Government is trying to sell this as a case where a man has a clean record but when he is appointed to a prestigious post, jealous and disgruntled people fabricated stories to tarnish his good name. The facts, which anyone can confirm for themselves are that these are very old accusations. Not only against Karenzi but many other prominent military officials in Government, including the President himself.
2. The government statement went on to say that since the political assassinations happened when Karake was just an RPA observer in Kigali, he should have been arrested and investigated at that time since he was at the mercy of the Habyarimana Government.
This is a good point, but there is a problem. The UDF claim is that the two specific assassinations took place a few weeks before April 6, which is when the whole country descended into complete chaos and full scale genocide. Also, in the months leading to April, Rwanda was in a state of civil war. Everyone remembers the random killings, assassinations, chaos, disappearances, fear and suspicion of those days. So it is fair to counter that the conditions for making an investigation and arrest were not the best, to say the least.
On top of that the other killings which Karenzi is accused of being directly involved in occured after the RPF/RPA took power.
Beyond these reasons of circumstances, our people know that even today, many assassinations and killings which happened years ago cannot be talked about except in whispers. Even in Uganda we can see you are always talking about cases of 20 even 30 years ago. For someone to ask why didnt the government investigate at that time is not being serious.
Since these murders actually happened and the killers are still at large, the more immediate question is what has the Government done to investigate and put to rest these accusations against officers of the RDF?
The UDF claim to have witnesses, is the Government ready to examine their evidence in a fair trial to clear the name of Karenzionce for all?
3. The Governments response to the Kibeho massacre is the most troubling. They base their defense of Karenzi on the UN report which was led by Colonel-Major Abdelaziz Skik. But for reasons that can only be guessed at, the Government says a Canadian diplomat Mr Bernard Dussault was the leader of the commission when formally, he was the Vice-President.
The person who wrote the government statement must have prayed so hard that no one saw or remembers this UN report.
The Governments statement dwelt on issues which are not being questioned and have little relevance to the matter at hand, which is Karenzis role in human rights abuses and other crimes.
The Kibeho camp contained over one hundred thousand people living in terrible conditions. This mass of refugees had characters of all kinds, including those who had taken part in the genocide and other criminals. The fact that this situation was a security problem for both the camp inmates and surrounding areas is not in dispute. The issue is how this problem was solved.
The fact is that on or around April 17, the Rwandese Patriotic Army surrounded the camp and sealed it off. Then on April 22 1995, the RPA massacred refugees using automatic rifles, machine-guns, grenades, rocket-propelled grenades and other heavy weapons.
The UN report says mass graves were found in and around the camp. This is a simple fact which is beyond dispute.
To quote the diplomatic language of the report : “There is sufficient reliable evidence to establish that, during the events at Kibeho camp between 18 and 23 April 1995, unarmed internally displaced persons were subjected to arbitrary deprivation of life and serious bodily harm by Rwandese Patriotic Army military personnel in violation of human rights and humanitarian law.”
In a presentation on Internally Displaced Persons to a UN General Assembly on 20 October 1995, Mr. Francis Deng a Sudanese diplomat said Kibeho was “the largest massacre of internally displaced persons in a camp in recent history.”
So there is no question that the RPA perpetrated a massacre, violated human rights and international law.The fact that rogue elements within the camp also killed has little bearing on the allegations against Karenzi.
The only question remaining is what was Karenzis role in this massacre? Where was he and what was he doing during this period? I am talking only about Karenzi but we may go further and ask the Government to also account for the whereabouts and activities of other RPF Generals including Fred Ibingira and President Kagame’s cousin Jackson Rwahama during this operation.
The government tries to answer this critical question like this, quoting the government press release: “General KARAKE did not take part in any operation at the Kibeho Camp as can be found in the above mentioned report by an International Commission of inquiry.”
This is both misleading and false. It is true, the report does not mention Karake at all, but this is not because they found he had no case to answer. It is because the commissioners did not name anybody in that report. The report limits itself to naming the institutions involved, and recording how and why this terrible incident happened. In fact, the only names in the report are those of the commissioners, and that of former Rwanda President Pasteur Bizimungu. So it is impossible for anyone to conclude from the report that “Karake did not take part” in the Kibeho massacre. The Government is engaging in blatant falsehood.
The next point, quoting from the government is that: “The conclusions of the report were that the Kibeho massacres, which constituted a humanitarian disaster then, were neither the result of a planned action to kill a specific group of people nor the result of an incident which could have been prevented.”
This statement is slightly different from the UN report. Point 56 in the UN report says and I quote: “In the opinion of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry, the tragedy of Kibeho neither resulted from a planned action by Rwandan authorities to kill a certain group of people, nor was it an accident that could not have been prevented.”
I call upon linguists to examine the above and throw some light on the differences in meaning between the Government and UN versions.
You can continue to look for further information but it should be obvious to an objective person that the Government is not straightforward in answering the accusations of UDF against Major General Karake.
I am not against us going to help people in Darfur. Our fellow Africans are dying like flies and urgently need our assistance. There are many good honorable officers in the Rwanda Defence Forces. But Major General Karake Karenzi and other officers will continue to live with a big question mark hanging over his head yet the ball is in their court.