Press release
Ministry of Justice
20.2.2009 12.00

Genocide suspect not to be extradited to Rwanda

Finland will not extradite the Rwandan man held in custody in Finland suspected of genocide. The decision of the Ministry of Justice is based on the decisions made last year by the International Criminal Tribunal established to investigate the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. In its decisions, the tribunal prohibited the referral of three pending cases to Rwandan courts.

Finland received the request for extradition from Rwanda in April last year. The man is suspected of having rendered himself guilty of genocide, offences against humanity and membership in a criminal organisation. He has been in detention in Finland on account of these alleged offences since April 2007 and remains in custody.

The National Bureau of Investigation recently completed its investigation of the matter carried out together with the Rwandan authorities. The material was then submitted to the State Prosecutor for the consideration of charges. If charges are brought against the man, the trial will be held in Finland.

In 1994, the UN Security Council established the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to prosecute persons responsible for genocide and other serious violations of humanitarian law. The aim was to complete the work of the Tribunal in 2010. In accordance with this, the ICTR prosecutors requested in 2007 that three pending cases be referred to Rwanda for adjudication before Rwandan courts. The ICTR rejected the requests since it was not satisfied that the defendants would receive a fair trial in Rwanda.

The Ministry of Justice states in its decision that it has neither any reason to question the conclusions of the ICTR nor any grounds to assess the prevailing circumstances in Rwanda any differently than the ICTR.

The Ministry of Justice further states that a fair trial is a fundamental right of a person accused of a crime. By acceding to the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms Finland has, for its part, committed itself to guaranteeing this right to persons within its jurisdiction.

Also Germany and France have rejected extradition on corresponding grounds.

Further information:
Legal adviser Juhani Korhonen, phone +358 9 1606 7586 (e-mail: forename.V.surname@om.fi)