New Zealand’s first refugee MP, Golriz Ghahraman, has come under scrutiny for her role in the in trials of war criminals following the Rwandan genocide.
On the Green Party website, Ms Ghahraman is described as having put on trial world leaders for abusing their power, and restoring communities after war and human rights atrocities.
But it doesn’t disclose that as well as help prosecute war criminals, she also worked on the legal defence team of some accused.
Among those she helped defend was Joseph Nzirorera, charged with genocide and crimes against humanity in Rwanda. This information was also missing from her maiden speech in Parliament.
The Rwandan genocide was a genocidal mass slaughter of Tutsi people’s in Rwanda by the Hutu majority from April to July 1994. It is estimated roughly 800,000 people were killed in the three month period.
Ms Ghahraman told Morning Report she has never hidden the fact that she did the defence work and she will change the details on the website.
She said she posed for a photo with one of the war criminals she defended because she was part of the legal team. In the photo, Ms Ghahraman is seen smiling with Simon Bikindi, one of Rwanda’s most famous war criminals.
Bikindi was a pop singer who wrote songs encouraging the slaughter of Tutsi and moderate Hutu. His music – played on the radio station which coordinated the slaughters – lead to a charge of inciting genocide.
Bikindi was also accused of taking part in some of the murders.