French court to try Rwandan genocide cases

29th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 29, 2006 (AFP) - A French appeals court has overturned a decision to dismiss the cases of four Rwandan genocide survivors who accuse the French army of rape and murder, their lawyers said Monday.

PARIS, May 29, 2006 (AFP) - A French appeals court has overturned a decision to dismiss the cases of four Rwandan genocide survivors who accuse the French army of rape and murder, their lawyers said Monday.

In December, a French military prosecutor opened an inquiry into the claims but immediately threw out the cases of four of the six Rwandan plaintiffs, arguing that they could not prove they had suffered personal harm.

But the Paris appeals court ruled that all six cases were receivable, a move hailed by lawyers who accuse the prosecution of obstructing the trial.

The six plaintiffs, all Rwandan Tutsis aged between 25 and 39, accuse French soldiers of complicity "in genocide and/or crimes against humanity" during the 1994 killing spree, which claimed some 800,000 lives.

They accuse the troops of rape and murder and of allowing Rwandan government forces and Hutu extremists to enter refugee camps under their protection — charges strongly denied by the French armed forces.

The French troops were in Rwanda operating under a United Nations mandate to create a secure humanitarian area in the country's south west.

A French investigating magistrate travelled to Rwanda in November to hear the plaintiffs, but the military prosecutor refused to accept the testimony she gathered during her trip, citing procedural reasons.

That decision is also being appealed, with a ruling due in July.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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