Rwanda Angry Over London Arrest Of Spy Chief, Karenzi Karake | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Rwanda Angry Over London Arrest Of Spy Chief, Karenzi Karake

Posted: Jun 24, 2015 at 6:30 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The Rwandan government branded the arrest of its intelligence chief Karenzi Karake as “an outrage”.

General Karake, 54, was arrested at Heathrow Airport on Saturday, accused of ordering massacres in the wake of the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

He was arrested by Metropolitan police officers under the European Arrest Warrant on behalf of the Spanish authorities.

Williams Nkurunziza, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to the UK, said it was “an insult to our collective conscience.”

Prime Minister David Cameron’s official spokeswoman said it was an “operational matter” for the police who were legally obliged to act on valid European Arrest Warrants.

Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanda’s Foreign Minister, called the arrest “an outrage” adding: “Western solidarity in demeaning Africans is unacceptable.”

Andrew Mitchell, former international development secretary, said he believed the arrest was a “reprehensible abuse” of the law.

In 2008, Spanish investigative judge, Andreu Merelles, indicted General Karake for alleged war crimes along with 39 other current or former high-ranking Rwandan military officials.

He is also accused of ordering the killing in 1997 of three Spanish nationals working for Medicos del Mundo.

But the Rwandan government is said to be puzzled by the timing of General Karake’s arrest, as he has travelled to the UK several times since the indictment was issued.

Mr Nkurunziza said: “We take strong exception to the suggestion that he’s being arrested on war crimes.

“Any suggestion that any of our 40 leaders are guilty of crimes against humanity is an insult to our collective conscience.”

General Karake was remanded in custody after appearing at Westminster magistrates court and he will reappear on Thursday.

A spokesman for Spain’s National Court said it was now up to the British authorities to decide whether or not to extradite him.

In a statement the British High Commission in Rwanda said the arrest was a “legal obligation” carried out on behalf of the Spanish authorities but stressed the UK had a “close relationship” with the Rwandan government.

General Karake is Director General of Rwanda’s National Intelligence and Security Services and a member of Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

Nicknamed KK, the Rwandan government hails him as one of the people who stopped the genocide. He went on to be deputy commander of the country’s first UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur before returning to his role as spy chief.