If Canada had only looked quickly at the compelling evidence provided by Rwanda's fair justice system, it would have denied every excuse Mugesera brought up a long time ago.
By Aaron Berhane
February 3, 2012
A former vice-president of the ruling Hutu party, Leon Mugesera, was finally deported from Canada to face genocide charges in Rwanda.
According to Rwandan authorities, Mugesera was the mastermind behind the slaughter of 800,000 Tutsis in just 100 days in 1994.
Mugesera has received what he deserves, but it’s taken 18 years for him to be deported. This is a ridiculously long period of time. Mugesera knew how to play the Canadian justice system. He escaped deportation by filing one appeal after another. He also said he would be tortured to death if he were deported.
However, the International Criminal Tribunal has vetted Rwanda’s judicial system, and has found it suitable for trying perpetrators of genocide, like Mugesera. Besides, there is no death penalty or torture in Rwanda’s justice system. Nevertheless, Canada has harboured Mugesera for almost two decades.
This should never have happened. If Canada had only looked quickly at the compelling evidence provided by Rwanda’s fair justice system, it would have denied every excuse Mugesera brought up a long time ago. And the victims’ relatives wouldn’t have lived in pain for the last 18 years.
We must always try to heal the wounds of the victims and their relatives, not protect perpetrators like Mugesera.