In a recent brief published on June 5, 2023, Human Rights Watch (HRW) shamelessly applauded the long-delayed arrest of Fulgence Kayishema- a Rwanda Genocide perpetrator and International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) indictee, in South Africa. However, HRW’s hollow applause conveniently sidesteps the fact that they played a role in fostering an environment that allowed genocide suspects like Kayishema to evade justice for more than two decades.
To grasp the extent of HRW’s hypocrisy, it is crucial to delve into their longstanding opposition to extraditing genocide suspects to Rwanda. Despite their claim of being “one of the world’s leading independent organizations on human rights”, HRW has consistently shown resistance in pressuring countries to fulfill their legal obligation of apprehending and extraditing individuals like Kayishema.
The hypocrisy becomes even more evident when considering HRW’s objection to the 2011 ruling by the ICTR, which authorized the transfer of genocide suspects to Rwanda. The ICTR, an internationally recognized tribunal, explicitly validated Rwanda’s judicial system, affirming its capacity to ensure fair trials and hold accountable those responsible for the genocide. However, HRW boldly defies the ICTR’s endorsement, asserting that Kayishema may be denied a fair trial if extradited to Rwanda.
Moreover, HRW’s lack of action in monitoring and notifying national authorities about the presence of numerous genocide suspects within its jurisdiction in the United States and countries where HRW operates further exposes its hypocrisy. While smaller organizations have taken the initiative to track these suspects and alert authorities, HRW has remained conspicuously silent. This omission highlights HRW’s selective engagement and raises concerns about their genuine commitment to justice.
In a nutshell, the gap between HRWs’ proclaimed concern and their actual actions reveals a troubling lack of consistency and a failure to hold perpetrators accountable. Their applause for justice, as witnessed in their recent brief, crumbles under the weight of their hypocrisy. It serves as a stark reminder that HRW’s credibility and commitment to justice are far from reliable.