A Rwandan military general was arrested at London’s Heathrow Airport and will appear in court later this week, British police said Tuesday, prompting an angry response from Rwandan leaders.
Police said the warrant for Emmanuel Karenzi Karake, head of Rwanda’s intelligence and security service, was made on behalf of authorities in Spain.
Karake, a close ally of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, was one of 40 members of the Rwandan military indicted in 2008 on charges of terrorism and genocide by Spanish national Court Judge Fernando Andreu.
Spanish magistrates have used the principle of universal jurisdiction several times to go after current or former government leaders or terrorism suspects, even indicting Osama bin Laden over the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. But extraditions and convictions have been rare.
On Twitter, Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo called the arrest “an outrage,” adding “Western solidarity in demeaning Africans is unacceptable.”
Rwanda and Britain “are talking to resolve the matter,” Rwandan Justice Minister Johnston Busingye said, insisting that Spain’s indictment of Karake was illegitimate and politically motivated.
Police said Karake was arrested Saturday, had a brief hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court that day and will be back in court on Thursday.