By Daniel Sabiiti
The second genocide suspect to be deported by Canada, Jean Claude Seyoboka will tonight at mid-night touch ground in Kigali for lying about his former status twenty two years ago.
Seyoboka, 50, is a former 2nd lieutenant in the former Habyarimana regime and was deported on grounds of lying to Canadian immigration during his entry in the country on refugee status in 1994 after fleeing the his homeland where he committed genocide crimes.
He was in 2007 charged and sentenced in absentia to 19years by the local Gacaca judicial court in Rugenge in Nyarugenge sector, where he allegedly planned and supervised the killing of at least 72 Tutsi’s, together with other leaders like former mayor of Kigali-Tharcisse Renzaho, Ephrehim Setako, Odette Nyirabagenzi- former counselors of Rugenge sector.
Rwanda, through the National Public Prosecution Authority issued an international arrest warrant and extradition request against Seyoboka in 2016.
The request sparked curiosity and interest in the status of the suspect leading to an immediate investigation into his former status in Rwanda, according to Faustin Nkusi, the prosecution spokesman.
“We are very impressed with the way the Canadian judicial system follow up this case. He will get a fair trial and will be accorded all his legal rights according to the law” Nkusi said.
Rwanda Prosecution says that Seyoboka didn’t tell the Canadian immigration about his life as a soldier. When Rwanda requested for his deportation to face the Gacaca sentence back home, the Canadian investigation discovered that he had lied and this resulted to his refugee status being revoked.
This means that if he had told the truth and responded to his arrest warrant- he would have the choice of voluntarily returning to Rwanda and would have been received well, and given two months to have his Gacaca sentence revisited or the sentence appealed.
But since he has been deported, this means that the Gacaca sentence is nullified and retried afresh by a competent court, as a genocide suspect, according Organic Law no.04/2012 of June 2012 terminating Gacaca courts and mechanism for solving issues under the jurisdiction.
“We seize this opportunity to thank and appreciate the Canadian authorities for the deportation and continued cooperation in mutual legal assistance and making an effective contribution to global efforts to eliminate impunity” Nkusi said.
In the meantime, Seyoboka will now join his Canadian counterpart, Dr. Leon Mugesera- who was also deported in 2012, and has since been sentenced to life in prison for inciting genocide in 1994.