The British government would provide an explanation to Kigali on the arrest in London weeks ago of the country’s chief of intelligence services, the British High Commissioner to Rwanda said Thursday.
Lt. Gen. Karenzi Karake, arrived in Kigali Thursday morning following his freeing earlier on Monday.
Speaking at a news conference in Kigali, ambassador William Gelling said what happened was not unique to Rwanda but could happen to any other two partner states.
His comments followed President Paul Kagame’s comments, demanding that though Gen. Karake had been freed and returned home; his government still required more explanations as to what happened and why he was arrested.
“The Rwandan government has asked for clear explanation as to what happened and so, I hope we will be providing that in the next few weeks,” the envoy told journalists.
“All I can tell you is that the warrant was issued or reissued while the General was in the UK. And at that point the police had no option but to act. The reason I think is that the UK joined a new system of electronic warrant survey in the EU and so it’s much more rapid.”
Gelling also explained that diplomatic immunity does not apply for the UK unless one is accredited to that country.
“You are only a diplomat when you are in the country to which you are accredited. I am a diplomat in Rwanda but I am not a diplomat in Uganda or Tanzania or Kenya. Under British law a diplomatic passport when you are not accredited to the UK there is nothing special about it.”
The ambassador regretted the fact that the arrest had sparked some diplomatic spat.
“That’s regrettable but there was no decision taken that I could point at to regret but I think it’s a shame it took us long to have the case brought to a conclusion. There was no political decision to arrest him.”
The arrest which sparked protests in Kigali was based on a 2008 European Arrest Warrant sparked off by an indictment issued by a Spanish judge in the same year.
Gelling said there was need for talks with Rwandan officials to make sure there is a system that allows Rwandan officials facing similar indictments to travel safely.
“It is possible that in the coming months and years, some of these arrest warrants will be dropped in any case. But I am not an expert on that. We want to work to find a system which will allow Rwandan officials and ministers and generals to travel on official business to UK when they need to and to do so safely. We will work on that.” Enditem