Family of Islington doctor accused of Rwandan genocide say UK Government is “failing” him

Vincent Bajinya

Vincent Bajinya - Credit: Archant

The family of an Islington doctor who is fighting extradition to Rwanda over allegations he took part in the country’s genocide this week claimed the UK Government is “failing” him following his second arrest.

Vincent Brown, 52, who settled in Islington 14 years ago after fleeing his home country’s bitter civil war, is alleged to have plotted and taken part in a 1994 slaughter in which hundreds of thousands of African men, women and children died.

In an extraordinary hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court’s international division last week, the court heard how Brown was originally arrested and detained for three years when the allegations first surfaced in 2006.

But a High Court hearing in 2009 released the doctor, who lives off Calshot Street, after ruling he would not be given a fair trial if extradited.

However, Gemma Lindfield, representing the Rwandan Government, last week told the court that the African country’s justice system has reformed and Brown can now be tried fairly if extradited.

The claim saw him arrested by police again on May 30 before appearing via video link from Belmarsh Prison at last week’s hearing as a Category A – considered the most dangerous – prisoner.

His lawyer, Frank Brazell, rubbished claims that Rwanda’s justice system was now a new “all singing, all dancing and fair” system, saying there is “evidence that wasn’t the case”.

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He added: “The starting point for this court is they have had a go [at extradition] once, and we have a High Court judgement that says no.”

But deputy chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said: “It’s not for me to step in at this stage”, having refused Brown bail due to him facing the “most serious accusations”.

Brown denies genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and premeditated murder, claiming the Rwandan Government has fabricated evidence by bribing or torturing witnesses to testify against him.

In an exclusive interview with the Gazette, his wife of 25 years, Rosalie, and his two children this week said it was “unfair” for him to be detained again – potentially for many more years – with no formal charges existing against him in this country.

Mrs Brown said: “Our family is being destroyed slowly, slowly, slowly. We try to stand by ourselves, but it feels impossible and it is killing us from the inside.

“Maybe we could understand the first time from 2006 to 2009, just maybe we can put that to one side.

“But to turn your cheek again and let it repeat itself, putting him in prison for what will probably be such a long time again, we just don’t understand why.

“The way they are dealing with this case is not right. The Rwandan Government is here, the British Government is here, we are stuck in the middle and nobody is helping us. Why?

“The UK seems it doesn’t want to judge him here. He would be happy to be tried here, he has said that many times.”

See this week’s (Thursday, July 4) Islington Gazette for the full story.