The Netherlands gives Rwanda €20M for justice, despite criticism

The Netherlands has signed with Rwanda a €20 million grant to assist the country construct a specialized court for genocide crimes.

The funds are in line with the Netherlands support for creating a strong justice system, reconciliation efforts, promotion of human rights and fighting against the genocide.

Rwanda will construct a specialized chamber of high court in Nyanza, Southern Province.

The chamber tries genocide and international cases transferred to Rwanda from other countries.

Currently, court improvises space at the High court premises in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital.

According to Rwanda’s Finance Minister, Claver Gatete, part of the grant will also help digitalize Gacaca archives. Gacaca is a traditional court system that was established in 2001 to try thousands of genocide suspects.

Gacaca courts tried over 1.5 million genocide cases, a work conventional courts would accomplish in a century.

Other funds will support training of mediators, another community justice system for community disputes which reduces conventional court workload.

The Netherlands most support started with the 2002 judicial reform. It goes into infrastructure, training and equipment.

The Netherlands has disbursed about €34m over the last two years alone and has promised to donate the sector €30.2 for year 2015-2017.

Since 2010, Rwanda issued 17 arrest warrants for Genocide fugitives in The Netherlands.

The Netherlands sentenced two Rwandans to a life and a-6 year term in jail in The Netherlands for Genocide offences.

Another extradition ruling of December last year is yet to be executed. Dutch officials say extradition is difficult for naturalized fugitives.

Rwanda is tracking over 70,000 Genocide fugitives. Over 200 arrest warrants were so far issued. The target is to issue 160 more next year.

Nine most wanted fugitives include the tycoon Felicien Kabuga reputed Genocide chief financier.

Meanwhile, in 2012, the Netherlands was the first European country to suspend their £3.9m pledged budget support to Rwanda following allegations the country was supporting Congolese M23 militia in eastern Congo.

It did not affect justice sector support.

However, during the signing of the grant this Monday, November 27, Netherlands Ambassador to Rwanda, Leoni Cuelenaere, said “My government convinced the parliament there were no more reasons to hold the budget support; it was reinstated this year.”

Cuelenaere said Rwanda’s judicial system has improved to international standard, despite criticism.

“Even Netherlands, the hosts of International Criminal Court is criticized and so is America, “she said.

By Jean de la Croix Tabaro