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   Inside Out - South: Monday November 6, 2006

Rwanda

Wanted poster
Dr Vincent Bajinya - wanted for his alleged part in the genocide

A doctor accused of crimes against humanity has been working for a British charity and advising the government about refugees.

Dr Vincent Bajinya has been charged with multiple murders and with helping to organise the genocide in Rwanda.

But BBC Inside Out has discovered that he works at Praxis, a London-based charity which helps refugees from places like Rwanda.

He has also served on the Refugee Nurses Task Force, which was set up in 2003 to advise the British government.

Dr Bajinya, who changed his surname to Brown two years ago, tells presenter Fergal Keane that he is innocent:

"I don't have any connection with the genocide. I was not a politician and I didn't even know that the Rwandan government is accusing me.

"I had nothing to do with the massacres in Rwanda."

But an international arrest warrant issued by the Rwandan government says that Dr Bajinya was a political extremist who helped to plan the 1994 genocide.

He’s accused of supervising the killers in the Nyarugenge district of Kigali and of ordering the murder of 15 of his neighbours.

The alleged victims include an old man, a child and a mother with her three-month-old baby.

The warrant also accuses him of supervising road blocks where an unknown number of victims were stopped and killed.

Crimes against humanity?

National Prosecutor Emmanuel Rukangira says that Dr Bajinya should face trial for crimes against humanity:

"We consider Bajinya as a senior suspect of the genocide, as somebody who incited the killing of very many people."

He is hoping the British government will extradite Dr Bajinya, even though there is no extradition treaty between the two countries.

Dr Bajinya
Dr Bajinya has been suspended by Praxis

Inside Out also spoke to three eye witnesses in Kigali who accuse Dr Bajinya of murder.

Janvier Mabuye says he heard Dr Bajinya ordering the killers to finish off a taxi driver who had already been attacked with machetes.

"Bajinya told them look this is not how you kill a person, you're just playing with him.

"He might survive if you just leave him the way he is. At that point he called a young man and another neighbour and they came and killed him off.

"That is one of the images that always lasts each time I remember the genocide. It's one of the images of Bajinya that remains in my mind."

Dr Bajinya has now been suspended by Praxis.

The charity's director, Vaughan Jones, said it would be a tragedy for his organisation if the allegations were true.

"I had no suspicions and when I saw the allegations, I was very shocked. If they are true then I would feel betrayed, because we work with people who have come from difficult situations and need proper support.

"We are aware that there are all kinds of allegations and counter allegations in the community and sorting out the victim from the perpetrator is extremely hard."

Extradition treaty

The Home Office, which granted Dr Bajinya refugee status, doesn't comment on individual cases.

But it says that the absence of an extradition treaty is not an absolute barrier to extradition.

"We wouldn't wish anyone suspected of genocide to enjoy impunity here. Where there are allegations the government will establish the facts and assess the evidence before taking any action.

"In principle, where any individual is responsible for genocide the government would want to look at stripping them of their immigration status and removing them from the UK."

The genocide in Rwanda lasted just one hundred days, but claimed the lives of around 800,000 people.

Most of the victims were from the minority Tutsi population, which was attacked by Hutu extremists.

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Deep space

Space c/o Greg Parker
Caught on film - stunning space image by Greg Parker

Greg Parker has been taking breathtaking pictures of the deep space using amateur equipment specially adapted to fit in his back garden.

You would expect space pictures to be taken by huge telescopes perched on mountain peaks or floating on the edges of space.

But Greg has been taking pictures in his DIY observatory with equipment costing less than the price of a small family car.

To capture the deep space images he wanted, Greg has experimented with a unique combination of lenses on the front of his telescope.

Fitting them precisely was the key to getting sharp pictures.

A misalignment as small as one tenth of the thickness of a human hair would have blurred his pictures but Greg hit the precise spot accidentally the very first time!

The objects are incredibly faint, so Greg takes hundreds of separate photographs throughout a night, and it's only when they are all combined together that you can see the spectacular results.

Today Greg's images are on display to the wider world at an exhibition at Southampton University.

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Join the debate
Twins at school
School versus home education - which is best?

First time pupils

Home education is a long established legal right in the UK.

Although there are no official figures, current research suggests that around 50,000 of UK children are home educated.

But is home education a better, more practical option than conventional schooling?

Inside Out sends the 12-year-old Green twins from Weymouth off to school for the first time.

email your views to insideout@bbc.co.uk

Alternative lifestyle

The Green family are literally very green.

Their garden is organic and they are completely self sufficient and they describe themselves as "alternative".

Their twins, Aran and Fingal, are just normal teenagers except they've never ever been to school.

The boys spend most of their time drawing, model making, reading, writing, doing school work and, of course, playing.

The boys grow and sell their own vegetables, which earns them £150 a year

Although they spend some of their time gardening, there's plenty of biology, economics and maths involved.

First day at school

Mr Green
The twin's father is used to them learning at home

Now the twins are facing their first ever school day at All Saints School in Weymouth, where their class mates are used to a far more structured education.

The crowded playground is also very different to the comfort of home.

Although the twins perform well in maths, they struggle in some subjects.

The boys didn't do joined up handwriting, and they may have had first day nerves, but they made some basic spelling mistakes.

Despite them reading a lot, they were perhaps behind in their actual written work.

Although they cruised in maths, they did seem to be behind in other written tasks, though after one day it would be hard to do a proper comparison.

The school was very happy with how the twins coped and the boys themselves had a great day, but when asked if they'd go back the answer was definitely 'no'.

Your views...

But which of the two systems provides the better, more rounded education?

email your views to insideout@bbc.co.uk

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Education - Readers' Comments

A selection of your comments will be published in English and Polish on Tuesday November 14 after the Inside Out England special.

I am the parent of two homed educated children, and of course would vote for home education.

Having a 10 year age gap I am lucky enough to be in the position of having one who has come out well from home ed as well as one currently being home educated.

Like the Green twins, my older son also went to school age 11 for a try out, he left after six weeks, not because he couldn't cope but because he was bored and astonished at the behaviour of the other children, he had gone there to learn, they seemed to be there to mess around.

You mention that the twins handwriting appeared to be behind the other children - that is my experience too. My son's handwriting remained immature, as it was not something he particularly wanted to do, but the content did not. On his word processor he was writing reams, and even had some poetry published. Like the Green family we did child led learning, without any structured work at all. My son only did work that he wanted to do, driven by his own interest.

He decided to go to college at 14 and took GCSE's, A levels and then went on to University at 17, where he gained a 2.1 degree in biology.

He has also just taken his guitar Grade 8 which he passed with distinction, and he worked as a tutor at a ju-jitsu club to fund his way through university, so appears pretty rounded to me.

He is popular and has no problem making friends, although he tends to gravitate to older people, finding his own age group slightly immature.

My son is now 21 and was recently the youngest entrant in the memory of the admissions registrar at Manchester school of medicine on their fully funded studentship PhD programme (a highly contested place) - his handwriting is still scrawling, but it doesn't seem to be a problem :-)
Janet Ford, Sheffield

My daughter has been home educated for three years, my second daughter is just starting her home education, and I was home educated.

Despite what people think not all home educators are middle-class families - there are single parents, working class parents (my husband is a pig farm hand) and people home educate for many reasons.

There is nothing wrong or weird about it. Some children just cannot learn in a forced, artificial environment, some cannot get the special needs help they require from the state system, some have religious reasons and some children are just too damn clever for "normal" classes.

Parents are responsible for education, no one else, so even if the schools are not educationg your children for whatever reason, failing schools, bullying etc, it is still your responsibility not the education department.

Some parents just choose to take the responsibility a litte more literally. Most of whom would prefer no outside interference from those who think they know better.

As for spelling and handwriting, have you seen some of the spellings teenagers are coming out with these days? Whn kidz rite n txt spk whn n MSN? Try asking any school pupil today to write an essay without using a spell-checker. Most of them will find it impossible.

The assumptions that we home educators face and fight everyday are from generally being strange and not wanting our children to mix to being child abusers!

My children are happy to mix with others, my eldest goes to pottery lessons and has made many friends there of all ages.

What is cookery but chemistry?
What is gardening but biology and botany?
What is woodwork if not applying maths?
What is building robots if not physics?
What is watching the weather if not meteorology?

Too much in this country is geared towards what pieces of paper you have and not to what you can practically do.

Children and people are that, people not huge cogs in an ultimate machine.

To quote a certain scientist...
"Education is that which remains, if one has forgotten everything he learnt at school."
Albert Einstein
Georgina Bass, Home educator.

After watching your programme tonight on the Green twins, I would be interested to see if there would be a return visit to these boys in approx. six years time and see just how they have got on in the big, bad world of business & commerce or further education.

Not only have they missed out on the social interaction of mixing with their peers, but clearly from your report, they have also missed out on a huge chunk of basic education.

Their standard of writing and spelling for their age group was appalling and they seemed at a loss in the maths lesson.

I cannot believe how unbelievably selfish their parents have been in living out their own dreams and ambitions, without a thought of how their children are expected to integrate into society.

The boys have no structure to their day and the parents are not teaching them anything. I thought it was against the law for a child not to attend school, or if they are not being taught the national curriculum at home??

You see parents from inner city areas being punished and fined as their children are playing truant from school, well how is this different for this couple from a more privileged home?

These boys will no doubt be unsettled and disruptive at school as it is all so alien to them and their parents really did not seem at all supportive on their return home and I can't imagine that they will be encouraged with homework.

These parents should be ashamed of themselves.
Sarah Wookey - mother of two children - aged 10 and 11.


Great programme about home education. I thought it got across many of the reasons why educating children at home is a valid choice.

It doesn't suit everyone, but it suited the family featured and it suits us. We are one of 70 families on the Isle of Wight who belong to a support group on the Island for home educating families.

Maybe you could put our contact details on your website for anyone interested in more information: www.iwlearningzone.co.uk. or telephone 01983 886866

It would be great if you could do more on older or younger children and talk to those who have come out of school too.

Chris Packham did a great job on the item. Thanks.
Sue Bailey

 



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