The extradition chamber of the District Court of The Hague today declared the extradition of our client Pierre Karangwa inadmissible. Rwanda had requested this extradition.

The court concludes that there are currently objectively justified doubts about judicial independence in Rwanda in the case of trials of (prominent) political opponents of the regime. The court points to the risk of political interference in that trial. The client is a former high-ranking soldier in the former Rwandan army. After settling in the Netherlands, he played an active role in the Rwandan opposition. The court therefore found it sufficiently plausible that client's extradition will expose him to the risk of a flagrant violation of the right to a fair hearing of his case by an independent and impartial tribunal.

In this case, the defence had made extensive reference to reports by the UN and human rights organisations warning of the risks of an unfair trial in Rwanda. The defence had also referred to political trials in Rwanda, such as against prominent political opponent Paul Rusesabagina, which have been demonstrably unfair. The court factored these sources into its decision. Finally, the defence requested the appointment of well-known Rwanda expert Professor Reyntjens to further explain the dangers of a fair trial in general, and for client in particular. This request was previously granted by the court and Professor Reyntjens was also heard by the court to further explain the risks he outlined.

A press release on the case can be found here. The judgment can be read back here. (Both in Dutch)

Pierre Karangwa was represented in the case by lawyers Michiel Pestman and Barbara van Straaten.

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