RWANDA’S government reacted angrily yesterday to a British embassy announcement that a senior general had been arrested in London.
The embassy in Kigali said that Emmanuel Karenzi Karake, who is the head of Rwanda’s national intelligence and security service, had been detained on Saturday following an extradition request from Spain.
Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said on Twitter: “Western solidarity in demeaning Africans is unacceptable,” adding that the arrest was “an outrage.”
Gen Karake’s arrest is based on charges filed in 2008 by Spanish judge Fernando Andreu Merelles, who accuses 40 military and political leaders of the Rwanda Patriotic Front of engaging in reprisal killings and massacres following the 1994 civil war.
Mr Merelles indicted the officials for genocide, crimes against humanity and terrorism leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians, including eight Spaniards who were in Rwanda for humanitarian work.
Justice Minister Johnston Busingye said Rwanda and Britain “are talking to resolve the matter,” but he insisted that Spain’s indictment of Gen Karake was illegitimate and politically motivated.
Accusations of political bias in international war crimes prosecutions were also made last week after the International Criminal Court (ICC) attempted to have Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir arrested during an African Union summit in South Africa.
On Saturday, the African National Congress executive accused the ICC of being influenced by powerful non-member states, a possible reference to the US, to “persecute African leaders and effect regime change on the continent.”