We've blogged before (here and here and here) on the female defendants indicted by international, and hybrid, criminal tribunals. European states have also indicted several Rwandan women for genocide and crimes against humanity; for example, two nuns were accused in a Belgian indictment of complicity in genocide.
In the newest chapter of this story, German officials detained Rose Kabuye (above), Chief of Protocol for Paul Kagame, Rwanda's President. She was seized at the Frankfurt airport upon a French arrest warrant. Kabuye was a guerrilla within the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA), the military wing of the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front, and as such is considered a national heroïne. (photo credit)
Apparently, the charges against her stem from the shooting down on April 6, 1994 of Juvenal Habyarimana's plane, which ignited the genocide in Rwanda. (The plane was shot down as President Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira were returning from a meeting in Tanzania on the implementation of the Arusha Peace Accords. The identity and the precise motive of the assassins remain unknown. Many have long speculated that Hutu nationalists, angered that President Habyarimana had capitulated during the peace process, were responsible.)
It appears that Kabuye was visiting Germany in her private capacity, which opened the way for her arrest. News accounts indicate that Kabuye had been warned that she risked arrest when travelling in Europe.
Rwandan Minister of Information Louise Mushikiwabo (right, center) has stated that Kabuye’s arrest is a “misuse of international jurisdiction” and “a perversion of the principle of universal jurisdiction." The African Union (AU) has also said arrest warrants would not be recognised in AU countries.
Mushikiwabo’s statements are intriguing.
If I am not mistaken, Mushikiwabo was a plaintiff in a suit under the Alien Tort Statute against Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, a leader in the Hutu-nationalist Coalition pour la Défense de la République party and a co-owner of the vitriolic Radio Télévision Libre des Milles Collines. (See here and here for profiles on Mushikiwabo). With others, she sued Barayagwiza in New York in 1994 and obtained a $35 million judgment against him in default (see 1996 WL 164496 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 9, 1994). In an exercise of what many have deemed a form of civil universal jurisdiction, Mushikiwabo obtained “tag” personal jurisdiction over the defendant by serving him with process while he was in New York attending meetings at the United Nations and he strayed outside the U.N. headquarters zone.
Apparently, what is good for the gander is not so good for the goose? Kabuye has been flown to France to face the charges. Stay tuned!