Rwanda urges France to extradite genocide suspects

23rd July 2007, Comments 0 comments

KIGALI, July 23, 2007 (AFP) - Rwandan Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama urged France on Sunday to extradite two Rwandans wanted over their suspected role in the 1994 genocide in his country.

KIGALI, July 23, 2007 (AFP) - Rwandan Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama urged France on Sunday to extradite two Rwandans wanted over their suspected role in the 1994 genocide in his country.

The French authorities on Friday detained Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, a Catholic priest, and Laurent Bucyibaruta, both accused by the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR) of genocide, murder and rape.

"The best solution for us would see him (Munyeshyaka) sent back to Rwanda to serve his sentence," the justice minister told AFP, in reference to a life jail term given in absentia by a Rwandan court last year.

"If for one reason or another France cannot extradite him to Rwanda, it should transfer him to the ICTR," he added.

The genocide was sparked by the assassination in April 1994 of then Hutu president Juvenal Habyarimana. In just a few months, some 800,000 people -- mainly minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus -- were massacred by Hutu extremists.

Kigali had repeatedly accused France of supporting the perpetrators and of failing to cooperate with the UN-backed ICTR since.

But Rwandan Foreign Minister Charles Morigandeon on Friday praised the arrests as a "very positive sign" while his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner vowed to cooperate with the Tanzania-based tribunal.

Kigali severed diplomatic ties with France last year after French judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere issued warrants against close aides to Rwandan President Paul Kagame over the 1994 assassination of Habyarimana.

On Sunday, Karugamana asked the French judiciary to show "real independence" should it decide to try the suspects in France.

"An act by Judge Bruguiere alone cannot take away our trust in the French judiciary. His decision was not a judicial one but a political one," he explained.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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