France charges Rwanda genocide suspect after diplomatic row

10th April 2014, Comments 0 comments

France has charged a Rwandan genocide suspect and is holding him without bail after a diplomatic row with Kigali during ceremonies to mark the 20th anniversary of the massacres.

A judicial source and his lawyer told AFP that Claude Muhayimana, accused of taking part in the genocide, had been charged in the northwestern French city of Rouen overnight Wednesday to Thursday.

Muhayimana was detained after a French court in February refused to extradite him to Rwanda to face genocide charges -- a move condemned by Kigali which has accused Paris of sheltering genocide suspects.

The charges follow a complaint from the CPCR, a French-based group that seeks to bring the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide to justice, which alleges that Muhayimana took part in the massacre of ethnic Tutsis in the western town of Kibuye and surrounding areas.

Muhayimana's lawyer, Philippe Meilhac, said it was "absurd" that his client, who obtained French citizenship in 2010, was being held without bail.

Muhayimana "has always responded to every court that has summoned him," Meilhac said.

His arrest came after France this week cancelled a ministerial visit to take part in events to mark the anniversary of the genocide because Rwandan President Paul Kagame repeated accusations that Paris was complicit in the killings.

Ties between Paris and Kigali have long been tense, in recent years especially over France's refusal to extradite genocide suspects.

Court cases against the suspects have recently been pursued in France instead. The first trial ended in March with Pascal Simbikangwa, a former army captain, convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison.


© 2014 AFP

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