The European Court of Human Rights has at last issued a judgment permitting the extradition of a genocide suspect to Rwanda (Ahorugeze v. Sweden). The case is important because similar extradition denials are quite common across Europe, although—and here is the key—extradition denials don’t typically lead to trials on the basis of universal jurisdiction. The drive for justice somehow fizzles out, once the case against extradition is won.
Refusals to extradite are most often based on the presumed likelihood of human rights violations, especially fears of unfair trials or of ill-treatment and persecution. But what happens when a human rights rationale leads to a denial of extradition, which in turn only reinforces impunity? And are refusals to extradite always driven by evidence of what awaits a defendant, or do cultural presuppositions filter into the decision? These double standards now need to be brought to light.