Posted on October 25, 2005

Rwanda Crimes, Rwandan Courts

Peter Worthington, Toronto Sun, Oct. 24

Why is Desire Munyaneza facing a crimes against humanity trial in Montreal, anyway?

He should have been deported eight years ago when he entered Canada on a phony Cameroonian passport and, when caught, claimed refugee status.

He’s been fighting deportation ever since, and because he’s got money, appeals drag on an on.

Can’t blame him, or any of the thousands of illegals hiding in Canada for our stupid policy of accepting everyone who claims to be a refugee and enduring years of appeals before sending them back.

Nothing has yet been proved against Munyaneza, but witnesses say he was one of those who committed hideous atrocities against Tutsis in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, when 800,000 died.

Munyaneza says he’s a Hutu and would be tortured and/or killed if he was sent home. Now he’ll be the central figure in the first war crimes trial in Canada since 1988, when a WWII Hungarian cop, Imre Finta was acquitted because it couldn’t be proved “beyond a reasonable doubt” that he was guilty.

That decision led the government to strip select people of citizenship and order them deported based on a “balance of probabilities” rather than “beyond reasonable doubt” — a violation of due process that courts have condemned.

Munyaneza is the first person charged under our new Crimes Against Humanity Act. If found guilty, he’ll serve time in a Canadian prison which will be a holiday compared to a Rwandan prison.

Logic dictates that a war crime should be tried in the country where it occurred. But Canada won’t send people like Munyaneza back to where the crime was allegedly committed because they may face death or torture.


That’s nutty. We should negotiate agreements whereby suspects who are returned to their country of origin won’t be tortured or killed. After all, these countries belong to the UN and pay lip-service to the UN’s human rights code.

If they break their pledge — impose UN sanctions.

Our government believes Saudi Arabia when it vows it doesn’t torture Canadian prisoners, so why not believe Rwandan “justice?”

Why are we protecting suspected war criminals?

Why are we even in the war crimes business — holding trials for people who come here from countries where they are accused of atrocities?

It’s fine that we abhor torture and won’t indulge in it regardless of provocation. Surely, that should depend on the definition of “torture.”

Sleep deprivation, continual interrogation, uncomfortable conditions hardly qualify as torture in questioning terror suspects.


It’s a far cry from what civil rights lawyer Alan Dershowitz has advocated for terror suspects when lives are at stake. He endorses torture that is not life-threatening — like “pulling out fingernails,” if you can believe it.

I’m with UN Human Rights Commissioner Louise Arbour, who argues that the prohibition against that sort of torture is “absolute.”

But for those who have come to Canada and are suspected of crimes against humanity we are not dealing with torture. All we need is legislation (that Britain is finally implementing) to get rid of such people quickly and effectively, without a charade of endless appeals.

These are not poor migrants crossing the border for jobs, but people who paid a lot of money for fake documents. When exposed, they pretend to be refugees.

Whatever they are, they should be sent back at the expense of the airline that brought them here.