Rwanda : First genocide to be tried in France
France plans to hold its first trial of genocide suspect who is accused of committing crimes against humanity during the 1994 genocide committed against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
Pascal Simbikangwa, who is currently restricted to a wheelchair, was in 1994 head of military intelligence at the Office of the President. Rwanda accuses Simbikangwa of organizing and arming militias, torturing Tutsis and drawing up lists of Tutsis to be killed and participating in killings in Kigali.
Despite the previous sore relationship between Rwanda and France, Rwanda is optimistic that the trial will be conducted, unlike other genocide cases which have been delayed in France.
He is set to stand trial later this year or early in 2014 in France, the first trial resulting from the Rwanda Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi.
Alain Mukularinda, the spokesperson of Rwanda’s prosecution said that the decision follows the numerous visits to Rwanda and investigations by French judges and Police on the role of Simbikangwa in the genocide against the Tusti in Rwanda in 1994.
“The optimism is there. French judges made investigations in Rwanda and affirmed that Simbikangwa’s dossier is full and that was ready to be tried. Even though there are a number of genocide cases delayed but this one we are assured will be tried, and we hope other cases will follow”.
He added that “Investigations were conducted and Rwanda issued arrest warrant against Simbikangwa . French, prosecutors and Police came to Rwanda and investigated base on the dossier we gave them. They conducted numerous investigations. The judges asked witnesses and gave Simbikangwa a right to ask questions to witnesses in Kigali”.
The question remains whether this time around France will try this case without being delayed like it had been in the past.
Pascal Simbikangwa was arrested in 2008 in the French overseas territory of Mayotte in connection with forged documents and was then identified as being wanted by Interpol for his alleged involvement in the genocide.
He was indicted in 2009, and placed in detention. Simon Foreman a French lawyer said Simbikangwa’s trial is likely to lead to further genocide trials in France.
The association of civil plaintiffs, based in the French city of Reims says it has 25 cases outstanding in France arising from the Rwandan genocide.