Arusha-based East Africa Law Society has written to the British High Commissioner in Rwanda urging the UK Government to unconditionally release General Emmanuel Karenzi Karake, the Head of the Rwanda National Intelligence and Security Services.
Mr Emmanuel Karenzi Karake was arrested at Heathrow International Airport in London on the 20th of June 2015 against an arrest warrant issued by a Spanish court since 2008.
The letter, signed here late last week by the President of the Law Society, states that the British government had no legal basis to effect the 2008 arrest warrant because a stay of the prosecution order and a withdrawal of all arrest warrants against General Emmanuel Karenzi Karake was issued by the higher ‘Audiencia Nacional’ Penal Chamber of Spain in Madrid in January 2015. This in essence negated the 2008 arrest warrants.
The EALS letter, which is also copied to the Secretary General of the East African Community, Dr Richard Sezibera and the Ambassador of Spain to Rwanda, further calls on the international community to ensure that the principle of universal jurisdiction is applied in a transparent manner that is consistent with the fundamental tenets of the rule of law and the respect for judicial independence.
Lieutenant General Karake is a senior member of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), the movement which is credited of halting the horrid 1994 genocide in the country, allegedly executed by the Hutu majority, who rose against Tutsis, leading to mass deaths of nearly a million Rwandans.
Mr Karake is among 40 people sought on the orders of a Spanish judge over the alleged murder of three Spanish aid workers in Rwanda and revenge massacres of Hutus in the wake of the genocide.
Operating from Arusha (Tanzania), the East Africa Law Society, is the umbrella regional Bar Association of the legal profession in East Africa. It is a dual membership organization that brings together the six national Law Societies of: the Burundi Bar Association, the Rwanda Bar Association, the Law Society of Kenya, the Tanganyika Law Society, the Uganda Law Society and the Zanzibar Law Society; as well as their respective individual membership.
The EALS works to promote the observance of and adherence to the Rule of Law, Democracy and Good Governance; and to enhance the professional knowledge and skills of its membership. The EALS enjoys formal Observer Status with the East African Community.