France ready to bring genocide suspect to justice

28th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 28 (AFP) - France, which has been stung by allegations it was complicit in Rwanda's 1994 genocide, said on Tuesday it would help bring to justice a Rwandan refugee accused of taking part in the slaughter.

PARIS, June 28 (AFP) - France, which has been stung by allegations it was complicit in Rwanda's 1994 genocide, said on Tuesday it would help bring to justice a Rwandan refugee accused of taking part in the slaughter.

The case file of Callixte Mbarushimana will be sent to "the competent judicial authorities" very soon, French foreign ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei told journalists.

He said UN officials had made the formal request for French help on Monday, though he stressed that "at this time, France has not received a request from the ICTR (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda) concerning Mr Callixte Mbarushimana."

If the state prosecutor's office decides the case is strong enough, a French court may try Mbarushimana on behalf of the ICTR, Mattei said.

Mbarushimana, a Hutu who once worked for the UN Development Programme in Rwanda, has denied allegations he participated in or directed the killings of 33 people during the genocide.

He has been living in France since 2003, when he was granted refugee status in December of that year.

France itself allegedly had a role in training Hutu militias that took part in the genocide.

A French gendarme who was in Rwanda in 1992 on a training programme for the presidential guard, Thierry Prungnaud, said in April that French soldiers trained Rwandan civilian militias in the two years leading up to the 1994 genocide.

"It must have gone on till 1994. It didn't shock me -- after all I didn't see how it all turned out. It just seemed normal," he told French radio in an interview on April 22.

The government in Kigali accuses France of having trained Hutu militias in Rwanda as the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front mounted an insurrection from neighbouring Uganda.

Hutu extremists went on to kill some 800,000 people in the genocide.

Successive French governments have denied the allegation.

Several preliminary criminal inquiries against Rwandan refugees living in France have been opened since 1995, but they have resulted in little action by French authorities.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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