French arrests of genocide suspects 'long overdue': Kagame

1st June 2010, Comments 0 comments

France's decision to arrest key suspects accused of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide was "long overdue" and they must be brought to justice, Rwandan President Paul Kagame said Tuesday.

French police last week arrested Rwandan doctor Eugene Rwamucyo nearly three months after detaining Agathe Habyarimana, the widow of Rwanda's assassinated ex-president, and one of the alleged masterminds of the Tutsi genocide.

"These are two important genocide suspects that needed to be tried," Kagame told France 24 television on the sidelines of the Africa-France summit in the Riviera city of Nice.

"It was long overdue because of the conditions of the relations between our two countries," he said, in referrence to the three-year break in diplomatic ties between France and Rwanda.

President Nicolas Sarkozy in February paid the first visit by a French head of state to Rwanda since the genocide, sealing a restoration of diplomatic relations.

Habyarimana was arrested at her home in a Paris suburb while Rwamucyo was picked up by police after attending a funeral service for another genocide suspect in the Paris region. Both suspects strongly deny the charges.

Kagame was making his first visit to France in eight years, joining 37 African leaders at the two-day summit that ends later Tuesday.

His presence marked a major improvement in relations with France and Kagame stressed that he was wanted to move forward after years of acrimony over France's alleged role in the genocide that left 800,000 dead.

"We can't be held hostage to the past and we want to look to the future," Kagame said.

Hosting his first Africa-France summit since taking office, Sarkozy has reached out to countries beyond France's traditional west African allies and stressed that economic ties were as important as political relationships.

Sarkozy has in particular sought to woo South Africa, the continent's economic powerhouse.

© 2010 AFP

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