Extradition to Rwanda for legal proceedings relating to a charge of genocide

In a submission to the Government, the Supreme Court has declared that, according to the Extradition for Criminal Offences Act, there is no impediment to the extradition of a person to Rwanda for legal proceedings relating to a charge of genocide. Furthermore, extradition would not be in contravention of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms or the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

At the end of 2020, Rwanda requested extradition of a Rwandan citizen from Sweden for prosecution of crimes, including genocide, which the person allegedly committed in 1994. A detention order and an investigation which contained reports from witness testimony of eighteen persons were appended to the request for extradition.

The task of the Supreme Court is to render an opinion for the Government on the issue of whether there is an impediment according to Sections 1–10 of the Extradition for Criminal Offences Act. The Supreme Court is also to examine whether an extradition would be incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In the event the Supreme Court finds that there is an impediment according to the Extradition for Criminal Offences Act, extradition may not take place. The Supreme Court has now submitted its opinion. The content may be summarised as follows:

There is probable cause for believing that the person sought has committed the acts.

The investigation has revealed that Rwanda persecutes and even tortures and executes persons who are part of the political opposition. However, it was not shown that the person sought had been politically active in such a manner that there is a specific risk that he will be subjected to persecution due to his political views. Nor are there sufficiently compelling reasons to believe that he would be subjected to torture or other inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.

The threshold is high for an extradition to be deemed incompatible with Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which lays down the requirements for a fair trial. The investigation revealed that procedural safeguards have been regularly ignored in many politically sensitive trials relating to prominent regime critics and that the outcome of high-profile cases pertaining to genocide appears to be predetermined. However, the investigation presented to the Court could not be deemed to constitute a sufficient basis for the finding that every trial for genocide in Rwanda so clearly derogates from a standard which is acceptable according to Article 6 that, irrespective of the person who is on trial, extradition is impeded. It was noted that it was not shown that proceedings against the person sought would contravene the right to a fair trial.

Prior to having been taken into custody, the person sought lived together with his wife and their two children. However, taking into account Rwanda’s interest in being able to pursue legal proceedings against persons who are suspected of participation in the 1994 genocide, and Sweden’s obligation to honour its international law obligations, his extradition would not be incompatible with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The conclusion was that there is no impediment to the extradition of the person sought to Rwanda. However, the Supreme Court emphasised that the investigation shows that the legal system in Rwanda suffers from grave deficiencies. Thus, there is cause for the Government, in the event it resolves to extradite the person sought, to carefully monitor his trial in Rwanda and how he is otherwise treated there.

A translation in English of the decision will be published shortly.

Contact persons

Judge Referee Elin Dalenius: + 46 8-561 666 49

Justice Stefan Johansson: + 46 8-561 666 16

Updated
2022-02-15