Essex: Care home stands by volunteer accused of war crimes
A NURSING home for elderly and vulnerable people is standing by its decision to employ an alleged war criminal as a volunteer.
Rwandan churchgoer Celestin Ugirashebuja, 60, has recently started work at the Anna Victoria Nursing Home in Frinton on Sea.
Mr Ugirashebuja remains on Rwanda’s most-wanted list where he is accused of war crimes during the 1994 genocide.
He has always denied any wrong-doing, claiming he was the victim of mistaken identity.
Heather Ursell, trustee of the care home in Pole Barn Lane, said they had no intention of letting him go.
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“He has been doing some clerical work for us, not care work, but even if he were to do care work then we would trust him,” she said. “We are very happy with him.
“We knew the allegations that were made against him. You can’t expect someone to drag around baggage like that their whole lives.”
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Mr Ugirashebuja was originally arrested in 2006 at his home in Walton on the Naze and, along with three other men, faced extradition to his home country.
The case was thrown out by the High Court in 2009 after judges ruled the men would not receive a fair trial if they returned to Rwanda and the men were allowed to continue living in the UK.
Mabel Jones, from Frinton, has known Mr Ugirashebuja and his family since the 1970s and lived in Rwanda for nearly 35 years.
“He has done a lot of voluntary work for people in Frinton and is an honest and caring person,” she said.
“He trained as a pastor and he would love to do that, but until he gets proper asylum he can’t.
“I knew him in Rwanda and I never saw any of the things he is accused of. I met people who had been saved by him. He looked after children whose parents had been killed in the massacre.”
The case is awaiting a decision by the European Court of Human Rights which will decide on extraditions to Rwanda.
Mr Ugirashebuja did not wish to comment.