JOHANNESBURG — Spain is seeking the extradition of a former Rwandan general on genocide charges but Rwanda said Wednesday it should have priority in prosecuting him.
Gen. Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa has been in South Africa since reportedly falling out with Rwandan President Paul Kagame. Nyamwasa’s wife says Kagame was behind the shooting of her husband in Johannesburg in June that left him hospitalized with a bullet wound in the stomach. Rwanda’s government denies involvement.
State prosecutor Malose Samuel Monene said there was a second plot to kill Nyamwasa while he was in the hospital. A total of 10 suspects have been arrested in the shooting and the second alleged plot. One of the suspects planned to strangle Nyamwasa with string in the hospital but the attack was never carried out, The Star newspaper reported.
A magistrate on Wednesday suspended a bail hearing until Oct. 7 for Pascal Kanyandekwe, a Rwandan who is the sole suspect charged both with the shooting of Nyamwasa and the conspiracy to kill him in the hospital.
A Spanish judge in 2008 charged Nyamwasa and 39 other members of the Rwandan military with the mass killings of civilians after they seized power in Rwanda and pushed out Hutus who in 1994 killed more than 500,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in a genocide.
Nyamwasa and other senior Tutsis are accused of waging a subsequent extermination campaign against Hutus.
Spanish courts can prosecute human rights crimes even if they are alleged to have occurred in other countries so long as there is a clear link to Spain. Three Spanish aid workers were killed East Africa in 1997 — homicides for which Nyamwasa has also been charged in Spain.
Rwanda has accused Nyamwasa of trying to destabilize Kagame’s government and asked South Africa to send the general home on charges linked to grenade attacks in Rwanda’s capital earlier this year.
Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said in an interview with the Associated Press Wednesday on the sidelines of a U.N. anti-poverty summit in New York that the country was hopeful South Africa would complete its investigation and respond soon to the government’s request to return Nyamwasa.
She again vehemently rejected allegations that the Rwandan government assassinated Nyamwasa.
“We cannot want General Nyamwasa to be extradited and to want him dead,” Mushikiwabo stressed, “so we definitely are not the kind of government that engages in assassination.
“We want him to answer to the justice system, and also as a Rwandese citizen to have his day in court,” she said.