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Sylvère Ahorugeze

Arrested in September 2006 in Denmark on charges of genocide; case dropped by Danish prosecutor on 10 August 2007; arrested in Sweden on 16 July 2008; Swedish government indicated on 9 July 2009 that he would be deported to Rwanda but halted proceedings on 16 July 2009 pursuant to the ECtHR's intervention. On 27 October 2011, ECHR held that his extradition to Rwanda is possible.

Sylvère Ahorugeze has been living in Denmark since the end of the genocide.

The Rwandan government has issued an Interpol arrest warrant against Ahorugeze, for war crimes and genocide. According to the Rwandan government, there are at least 15 genocide suspects living in Denmark.

Those indicted could be tried in Denmark since the country has no extradition agreement with Rwanda. Also, Danish law allows for trials of Rwandan genocide suspects who are residents of Denmark.

In early September 2006, Ahorugeze was arrested in Denmark. On 7 September 2006, he was formally charged with killing 25 Tutsis in a suburb of Kigali during the first day of the genocide in April 1994.

After 11 months in Danish custody, a special prosecutor dropped proceedings due to lack of evidence. Ahorugeze was released and awarded damages.

On 16 July 2008, Ahorugzeze was arrested in the Stockholm suburb of Solna (Sweden) after carrying out an errand at the Rwandan embassy. A Swedish court ordered that Ahorugeze be remanded in custody pending a possible extradition request from Kigali. It appeared that new elements in this case had come to light.

The court was then to inform the justice ministry and ultimately the government had the right to decide whether to extradite him. It is up to the Swedish justice ministry to decide on a period of time during which Rwanda is free to submit an extradition request, with the legal maximum set at 40 days.

Ahorugeze has denied the accusations brought against him.

The Supreme Court of Sweden on 26 May 2009 ruled in favour of extraditing Ahorugeze to Rwanda. Nevertheless the final decision was in the hands of the justice ministry by virtue of the Swedish law concerning deportation.

On 9 July 2009, the Swedish government decided to extradite Ahorugeze to Rwanda. Ahorugeze appealed this decision before the European Court on Human Rights on 13 July 2009 claiming that he would not receive a fair trial before the Rwandan courts. On 16 July 2009 the Swedish government indicated that it would abide by an ECHR order not to deport Ahorugeze until the European Court had examined the case.

In 2011, he was released after the Supreme Court ruled that there was no reason to detain him while the decision from Europe was taking time. Following his release, he returned to Denmark, with his family.

On 27 October 2011, ECHR held that his extradition to Rwanda will neither "violate the prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, nor his right to a fair trial". Ahorugeze appealed this decision. In June 2012, the ECHR Grand Chamber decided not to review the case.

Now, as Ahorugeze resides in Denmark, the Rwandan authorities will have to turn to the Danish authorities to ask for Ahorugeze’s extradition.

Trial Watch would like to remind its users that any person charged by national or international authorities is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Fact sheet

Rwanda 2017 2017  - 2017 2017  - 2017
War crimes



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