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African Union demanding release of Rwanda intelligence chief

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) has condemned the arrest of Lieutenant-General Emmanuel Karenzi Karake, Chief of the National Intelligence and Security Services of Rwanda, in London, UK.

Karenzi was arrested last Saturday while he was on an official visit in London, UK.

The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of AU on Friday convened a meeting on the situation of the arrest of the Rwandan intelligence chief at the AU Headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

The AU-PSC has called for the immediate and unconditional release of the official, according to a statement from AU on Sunday.

At the meeting, the Council took note of the introductory remarks made by Smail Chergui, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, and the briefing made by Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.

The Council also took note of statements made by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister, Okello Oryem, Uganda’s Minister of State for International Affairs, and Githu Muigai, Attorney-General of Kenya, as well as by the permanent representative of Zimbabwe to AU, in its capacity as the chair of the AU.

Recalling the decision on the abuse of the principle of universal jurisdiction adopted by the AU assembly in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, in 2008, the Council stressed the need for international justice to be conducted in a transparent and fair manner, in line with the principles of international law.

The Council also expressed concern that the abuse of the principle of universal jurisdiction poses a threat to the efforts aimed at promoting the rule of law and stability, as well as at building strong national and regional institutions.

It further recalled the decision calling on all UN member states, in particular the European Union (EU) member states, to impose a moratorium on the execution of arrest warrants until all relevant legal and political issues have been exhaustively discussed between the AU, the EU and the UN.

The Council expressed its deep concern about the arrest of Karenzi on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by a Spanish Judge, and considered it as not only an attack on a Rwandan national, but on Africa as a whole.

It strongly condemned the blatant violation of the principle of universal jurisdiction by some non-African states against African government officials and its implications for peace and security on the continent.

It also stressed that the abuse threatens to reverse the hard- won security and stability in Rwanda and in Africa as a whole.

The Council stressed that the arrest is politically motivated and underscores the fact that arrest warrants issued by individual non-African judges and other non-African national legal systems are a clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of African states and constitute an attempt to subordinate African legal systems to those of non-African States.

The Council condemned the arrest as it violates AU’s earlier decision and the spirit of the agreement of April 2014 between the EU and Africa during the 4th EU-Africa Summit held in Brussels, Belgium, on political dialogue between the EU and Africa to address the issue of the abuse of the principle of universal jurisdiction once and for all.

It called for the immediate and unconditional release of Lieutenant-General Emmanuel Karenzi Karake by the UK authorities.

The Council expressed concern at the continued support by certain quarters of the international community to groups that perpetrated genocide and continue to vehicle its toxic ideology, as well as attempt to absolve those who committed genocide in Rwanda and, in this respect, it stressed that extremist groups should in no way be sanitized.

It called upon the international community to respect the sovereignty and dignity of the African member states, as required by international law and conventions.

It requested the Chairperson of the AU Commission to formally convey the Council’s decision to the UK and Spanish authorities, as well as to all the UN and EU member states, and to further engage them towards the speedy resolution of the matter.



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