Charles Kayonga evades arrest in the UK
15 Sep 2016
War Crimes Suspect slips though UK Net
THE UK AUTHORITIES HAVE FAILED TO MAKE A ‘PINOCHET STYLE’ ARREST OF A RWANDAN SUSPECT DESPITE A EUROPEAN ARREST WARRANT – VICTIM ASKS: “HOW WAS THIS ALLOWED TO HAPPEN”?
In 2005, a number of victims started criminal proceedings in Spain against Rwandan suspects, including the then Chief of Staff of the army, Charles Kayonga, regarding allegations of serious human rights violations in breach of international criminal law from 1990 to 2000. In 2008, international arrest warrants were issued in Spain against Mr Kayonga and 39 other high ranking officials of the Rwandan army, but until now only one other suspect has been the subject of an extradition request (General Kayumba Nyamwasa, now residing in South Africa).
Hickman and Rose (H&R) were instructed by one of the victims after a European Arrest Warrant was (re)sent to the UK at the beginning of this year. That victim has worked for many years to achieve justice for serious international crimes, including the murder of his brother in 1994. He is represented by his legal team in Spain and England, including Juame Asens and Jordi Palou Loverdos in Barcelona (who can be contacted on his mobile for comment – on 0034638685330).
Late last year, H&R’s client and his Spanish lawyers, became aware of press reports that Charles Kayonga had been dismissed from office, and of some evidence that Mr Kayonga had come to the UK and was receiving medical treatment here while residing in the Bromley area of Greater London.
In early January 2014, the international arrest warrant was re-sent to the UK authorities as soon the Court was aware that the suspect was in England. The resulting European Arrest Warrant (EAW) was received in the UK via Interpol not later than 9 January 2014. Since then, H&R’s client received assurances from the Spanish authorities that Interpol UK and the National Crime Agency (NCA) in the UK has been supplied with all necessary documentation to enable the NCA to process the EAW under the Extradition Act 2003. Therefore, for at least the last seven weeks, the victim and his legal team have expected to be given basic information to confirm that:
- the suspect was not able to leave the UK without being arrested; and/or
- urgent steps were being taken by the UK authorities / NCA to ensure that the MPS had the authority to arrest the suspect as soon as possible.
However, despite repeated attempts to get any information from the NCA, no such assurances have been provided – in fact other than a general assurance of compliance with legal obligations, the NCA has (until 26 February, when it appears to be too late) refused to engage at all with the client, other than offering a fax number and reference at the NCA’s legal department.
On 25 February 2014, an official announcement was made by the Rwandan government that Mr Kayonga has been appointed as the Rwandan Ambassador to China. The following day, reports began to emerge that Mr Kayonga was no longer in the UK, indicating that the British authorities failed to secure Mr Kayonga’s arrest during a period when the NCA has used operational reasons as a smokescreen. Finally, at the beginning of this week, a reliable source in Kigali sighted Mr Kayonga there, apparently attending meetings regarding his diplomatic posting to China.
The victim regrets bringing this matter into the public domain by making this statement today through this firm, but has done so in an effort to ensure accountability in this case. Jordi Palou Loverdos says:
“After more than 15 years of working to bring about truth and justice, my client and all the other victims of international crimes in the region, whether Spanish, Rwandan (both Tutsi and Hutu) and others, will not give up, even if Charles Kayonga is able to take up the role of Rwandan Ambassador to China.”
NOTES for editors – please see these recent news reports:
The East African
For more information about the case, and international arrest warrants issued in 2008 by Spanish courts according to universal jurisdiction principle see:
Veritas Rwanda Forum
For more information about International Forum for Truth and Justice in Africa of the Great Lakes region please see: http://veritasrwandaforum.org/ and
At page 3 in the above link there’s a list of the key alleged crimes. It includes the “violent death of Spanish priest Joaquim Vallmajó and other Rwandan clergy in Byumba (April 26)” i.e. the murder of my client’s brother in 1994.
Until June 2013 = Lieutenant General Army Chief of Staff of the Ground Forces of RDF.
At the time, Colonel and Commanding Officer of the Third Battalion and member of Network Commando Assassination of FELICIEN GATABAZI; coordinated the operation to kill EMMANUEL GAPYISI; was one of the people who planned the attack against the plane of President Habyarimana; systematic massacres of Rwandan Hutu refugees and of Congolese civilian population; among other crimes committed in Rwanda and the DR Congo.
PLEASE ALSO NOTE: The charity REDRESS is on standby to make a comment on the issues raised by this case – please contact Kevin Laue on 079 621 66443.
Please contact in Spain: Jordi Palou Loverdos (lawyer) on: 0034638685330
In London, UK: Daniel Machover on: +44 (0)7773 341096