A Rwandan military general who heads the country's intelligence service has refused to be extradited to Spain at a hearing in a London court.

Emmanuel Karenzi Karake is accused by Spain of war crimes. He was arrested at London Heathrow Airport Saturday by British police acting on a European warrant.

The 54-year-old general drew cheers from some in the Westminster Magistrates Court when he raised his clasped hands above his head upon arriving Thursday.

Karake is a close ally of Rwandan President Paul Kagame. He was one of 40 members of the Rwandan military indicted in 2008 on charges of terrorism and genocide by Spanish national Court Judge Fernando Andreu.

The extradition battle may take months. Rwandan officials have criticized the arrest as unjust and political.