Military court to hear Rwandans' genocide claims

30th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 29 (AFP) - A French military prosecutor is to ask to question six Rwandans who have filed a suit alleging that French troops were complicit in the 1994 genocide in their country, legal sources said Wednesday.

PARIS, June 29 (AFP) - A French military prosecutor is to ask to question six Rwandans who have filed a suit alleging that French troops were complicit in the 1994 genocide in their country, legal sources said Wednesday.

According to the public prosecutor's office the six plaintiffs need to be questioned to see if their suit can be heard before any investigation can be carried out.

Hearings could take place within the next few days, a legal source said.

Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie would have to give the green light for any case to proceed in the Paris military tribunal, the only court with jurisdiction to try French soldiers for crimes committed abroad.

The complaint concerns Operation Turquoise, under which UN-mandated French troops were tasked with creating a secure humanitarian area in southwestern Rwanda.

The plaintiffs claim that French troops allowed Rwandan government forces and Hutu extremists known as the Interahamwe to enter camps under their protection, where they kidnapped minority Tutsis.

But an attorney with experience of cases before the French military tribunal told AFP earlier this year that the court would likely decide not to hear the case, as such issues were in the domain of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

The Rwandan genocide, sparked by the death of a Hutu president in a suspicious air crash, claimed the lives of some 800,000 people, mostly Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Paris has repeatedly denied any blame for what happened in Rwanda.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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