French courts mull two Rwanda extradition cases

2nd November 2010, Comments 0 comments

A French court Tuesday granted extra time to the widow of assassinated Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana to fight calls for extradition linked to the Rwanda genocide, a lawyer said.

The court in Versailles near Paris overruled a local prefect's decision to refuse a residency permit to Agathe Habyarimana, who has lived in France for 15 years after the 1994 genocide sparked by her husband's killing.

"The court cancelled the decree (refusing her a residency permit) and asked the prefect to re-examine the case," Agathe Habyarimana's lawyer Philippe Meilhac told AFP, saying the decree was politically motivated.

Agathe Habyarimana was arrested in France in March after a Kigali prosecutor last year issued a warrant for her to face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. She has denied the accusations.

The fatal shooting down of Juvenal Habyarimana's plane in Kigali in 1994 sparked the massacre of 800,000 people, mostly minority Tutsis.

Separately, a court official said that a Paris appeals court would rule on Wednesday on a warrant to extradite exiled Rwandan rebel leader Callixte Mbarushimana.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has called for him to stand trial there for alleged war crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

French authorities arrested Mbarushimana, 47, last month on a warrant issued by the ICC in September.

The ICC said Mbarushimana faces charges of murders, rapes, torture and destruction of property in eastern Congo in 2009. He denies the charges.

© 2010 AFP

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