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Rwanda-South Africa Relations: Let Law Take Its Course in Rwandan Case, Says Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

 Maite Nkoana-Mashabane
The South African government says it has evidence that Rwandan diplomats were involved in cases of murder and attempted murder on South African territory.

"I [can't] lay out the progress that our law enforcement agencies are making. I am appealing to all of us to remain calm and allow them [law enforcement agencies] to do their work and allow the full investigations to be completed unhindered," International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a post-State of the Nation Address briefing in Pretoria, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said once the investigations are concluded, the country's law enforcement agencies will act "decisively and unemotionally".

She said South Africa was guided by the international law in how it relates to countries of the world, and would not tolerate any acts of criminality emanating from anyone.

"We have the rights and responsibilities as a state to provide security to all South African citizens and visitors, irrespective of where they come from. South Africa will not tolerate any acts of criminality or lawlessness emanating from anyone from anywhere in the world."

If there is a political challenge arising, the minister said South Africa would take action based on the bilateral mechanisms in place, including the Vienna Convention, which defines a framework for diplomatic relations between independent countries.

The minister's comments come after Pretoria expelled four diplomats from Rwanda and one from Burundi regarding attacks on South African soil. In response, Rwanda ordered six South African envoys out of that country.

According to a statement from the Department of International Relations at the weekend, in June 2010, there was an attack on the life of General Kayumba Nyamwasa, an asylum seeker and former Rwanda Army General. There was another attack on General Nyamwasa on 4 March. There was also an incident that led to the murder of the former Rwanda Intelligence Chief, Colonel Patrick Karegyeya, on 31 December 2013.

Rwanda has since accused South Africa of harbouring terrorists.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said the decision by the South African government was unemotional and government had informed the Rwandan government, in accordance with the norms informed by the country's Constitution and international law of conduct. (Tshwane)

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