Rwandan envoy approved by UK ahead of Commonwealth meeting.
Despite requests from opponents to reject the appointment, the United Kingdom has confirmed Rwanda’s new ambassador to the country, Johnston Busingye.
The permission comes three months before the Commonwealth Heads of Government summit in Kigali on June 20.
On August 31, the previous Minister of Justice and Attorney General was appointed to represent Rwanda in the United Kingdom, although the position remained empty.
Activists in the United Kingdom and the United States urged London to deny his credentials and instead add him to the Magnitsky Sanctions list, which targets those guilty of human rights abuses or corruption.
In a recent publication, the British High Commissioner to Rwanda, Omar Daair, revealed that the nomination had been accepted and that Rwanda’s High Commissioner to the UK is scheduled to be in London shortly as both nations prepare for CHOGM.
“Some of these procedures are time-consuming; various nations require varying lengths of time to deal with these issues.” I won’t get into specifics about the procedure, but the appointment has been approved.
“We are looking forward to the high commissioner’s arrival in the UK, and my colleagues are looking forward to engaging with him and the Rwandan government ahead of CHOGM,” Mr. Daair added.
Critics of Rwanda’s government accuse Mr. Busingye of interfering in the prosecution of “Hotel Rwanda” hero Paul Rusesabagina, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison. The 7-month trial drew international attention and was labeled “illegal” by Rusesabagina’s family.
He was found guilty by a Rwandan court of supporting a rebel organization responsible for fatal assaults in northern and southern Rwanda in 2018 and 2019.
Rwanda defended Mr. Busingye’s nomination, claiming that the criticism was being spread by individuals “desperate to save Paul Rusesabagina’s image.”
When asked whether the UK had examined concerns about the Rusesabagina trial, the British High Commissioner said that the UK had reviewed the whole picture of both nations’ ties and had aired concerns about the trial with the Rwandan government.
“Amnesty for Africa has said publicly that there must be accountability in the case of Paul Rusesabagina for assaults on civilians in 2018 and 2019.”
We, like other partners, had concerns about the due process in that matter, which we addressed with the government and discussed, “Mr. Daair stated.
Mr. Busingye succeeds Yamina Karitanyi, who has since taken over as chairman of the Rwanda Mines, Gas, and Petroleum Board in Kigali.
Mr. Busingye served in the Rwandan government and courts for many years before being named Minister of Justice and Attorney General, notably as a resident judge of the High Court of Rwanda and the main judge of the East African Court of Justice.
Rwanda is preparing to host the CHOGM, which Prince Charles and his wife, Duchess Camilla, will attend. The gathering will also mark the start of Rwanda’s tenure as Commonwealth Chair.